US restricts travel from India amid COVID-19 surge


New Delhi: US President Joe Biden signed a proclamation barring the entry of non-US citizens who travelled to India during the 14-day period preceding their entry into the United States.

This proclamation is effective from May 4 and will remain in effect until terminated by Biden.

The comes as the COVID-19 situation in India worsened. The proclamation noted that the magnitude and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic in India are surging and the country accounts for over one-third of new global cases, and the number of new cases “is accelerating at a rapid rate”.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that India is experiencing widespread, ongoing person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The CDC noted that a variant strain of the virus, known as B.1.617, is also circulating in India, along with other variant strains, including B.1.1.7, first detected in the United Kingdom, and B.1.351, first detected in the Republic of South Africa.

“After reviewing the public health situation within the Republic of India, the CDC concluded that proactive measures are required to protect the Nation’s public health from travellers entering the United States from that jurisdiction,” the proclamation read.

“Given the determination of CDC, working in close coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, described above, I (Biden) have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as nonimmigrants, of noncitizens of the United States (“noncitizens”) who were physically present within the Republic of India during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States,” it added.

The new rule will not apply to lawful permanent resident and non-citizen national of the United States; any noncitizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.