The United States will restrict travel to India starting on May 4 as the country deals with a staggering surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.
India has seen a record number of daily cases and deaths throughout the month of April. The country is reporting an average of more than 350,000 new cases and 3,000 deaths per day. On Friday (April 30), India set a new daily record of cases with 386,452, CNN reported.
According to the New York Times, India was responsible for more than half of the world's coronavirus cases in April. Overall, India has reported 18.8 million cases and over 208,000 deaths, though some health experts believe those numbers may be underreported.
"On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration will restrict travel from India starting immediately," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. "The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India."
The recent outbreak is believed to be caused by a new variant, known as B.1.617, which is highly contagious. The current outbreak has overwhelmed the country's healthcare system, leaving hospitals with a shortage of beds, protective equipment, medicine, and oxygen.
The United States is sending much-needed supplies to help. A C-17 cargo plane landed in New Dehli carrying 1,100 refillable cylinders of oxygen, 1,700 oxygen concentrators, multiple oxygen generation units,184,000 rapid diagnostic tests, and 84,000 N95 masks. The U.S. will also be sending 20,000 doses of remdesivir, which can help treat patients with COVID and reduce the time they need to be hospitalized.
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