April 30 (UPI) — The Biden administration plans to halt travel from India amid skyrocketing COVID-19 cases in the South Asian country, the White House press secretary announced Friday.
The new restriction will go into effect Tuesday.
“On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the administration will restrict travel from India starting immediately,” Jen Psaki told reporters in a statement. “The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the India. The policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4.”
The announcement came on the same day India reported the largest single-day number of cases — more than 386,000 on Thursday, according to the Johns Hopkins University global tracker. The country also reported nearly 3,500 deaths Thursday.
Since the start of the pandemic, India has confirmed 18.76 million cases, the second-highest in the world, and 208,300 deaths. On Thursday, it became the fourth nation to surpass a death toll of 200,000 after the United States (575,000 as of Friday), Brazil (401,000) and Mexico (216,000).
Officials in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Surat and Bangalore have placed strict lockdowns on those cities. Shortage of oxygen and medical supplies are just two of the challenges facing a challenged healthcare system there.
Social media has been filled with calls to swamped Indian hospitals that are going virtually unanswered. Delhi, for example, has a few open intensive care beds for a population of 16 million.