As the number of COVID-19 cases in India continues to skyrocket, along with anecdotal but unconfirmed evidence that a new coronavirus variant called B.1.617 could be driving them, the White House said Friday that the US will begin restricting travel from India starting Tuesday, May 4.
“The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high Covid-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement cited by multiple news outlets Friday.
With an average of over 3,000 coronavirus deaths per day over the last week, India has become the latest global hotspot for a pandemic that’s so far claimed more than 3 million lives worldwide.
In January, US President Joe Biden issued a similar travel ban for all non-US citizens journeying from South Africa, and reimposed an entry ban on nearly all non-US travelers from Brazil, the UK and 27 European countries.
The State Department has issued advisories for the US against traveling to about 80% of all countries globally due to COVID-19.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.