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US imposes travel ban on people coming from India for indefinite period; students, scribes exempted

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The United States on Tuesday imposed a ban on people coming from India. The ban has been imposed after India is facing an unprecedented crisis because of the second wave of coronavirus pandemic. Biden issued a proclamation on Friday restricting travel from India starting from May 4.

The restrictions have been imposed for an indefinite period and will require another presidential proclamation to end it. 

“I 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 non-immigrants, of non-citizens of the United States who were physically present within the Republic of India during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States,” says the proclamation signed by Biden on Friday.

According to the US Department, specific categories consisting of students, academics, journalists have been exempted from the ban. US nationals, those having green cards, their non-citizen spouses and children below 21 years of age, are among the various other categories that are exempted from the restrictions.

The decision was taken at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the Department of Health and Human Services, which determined India is experiencing widespread, person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The World Health Organization has reported that the Republic of India has had more than 18,375,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The magnitude and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic in India surging,” Biden said, adding that India accounts for over one-third of new global cases. The number of new cases in India is accelerating at a rapid rate,” he said.

According to the State Department, the US has also granted similar exemption to some categories of travellers from Brazil, China, Iran and or South Africa.

Students seeking to commence studies in the fall, academics, journalists and individuals who provide critical infrastructure support in countries affected by a geographic COVID-19 restriction may qualify for the exception, it said.

This includes qualified applicants who have been present in India, Brazil, China, Iran, or South Africa, it added.

The pandemic continues to limit the number of visas our embassies and consulates abroad are able to process, it said.

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