More countries drawing COVID line for India amid virus surge

UK, US, Hong Kong, New Zealand tell residents to skip India, Canada too reports ‘on arrival’ positive COVID cases from India

During surveillance of some airports, the DGCA had noticed that air passengers were not satisfactorily complying with COVID safety protocols.

The United Kingdom, the US, Hong Kong, New Zealand have now drawn the COVID line for their travelers to India, which on April 20 reported 2.59 lakh new cases. The country for the sixth day in a row showed a daily infection caseload of over two lakh.

UK Prime Minister on April 20 cancelled his scheduled trip to India on April 25, saying he’d hold a virtual meeting with PM Modi. Later UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced in the House of Commons that India would be added to the ‘red list’ from Friday (April 23). That means one who is not a UK/Irish citizen or resident can’t enter that country if they have been in India in the last 10 days. The UK has cited detecting 103 COVID cases of a variant first identified in India.

The UK ‘red list’ means if you arrive in that country from India before 4 am, Friday April 23 local time, you must self-isolate for 10 days in the place you’re staying and take a COVID test on day two and day eight. However, from 4 am, Friday April 23, if you have been in India in the previous 10 days, you will be allowed to enter the UK only if you are a British, Irish or third-country national with residency rights.

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Also read: India’s failure on the vaccine front, and what needs to be done now

The US has issued a fresh advisory to its citizens for a trip to India. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory renewed India’s COVID assessment from Level 3 to Level 4, which is the highest level on its scale.

“Because of the current situation in India even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to India. If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated before travel. All travelers should wear a mask, stay six feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands,” said the US advisory.

On Sunday (April 18), Hong Kong activated an emergency circuit breaker and banned passenger flights from India for 14 days starting April 20.

New Zealand, too, had suspended entry of travelers from India earlier this month. The country imposed a ban on any travel from India after it detected 23 COVID cases among passengers flying from outside earlier this month. Of them 17 were positive for the Indian variant of SARS-CoV-2.

Hong Kong has bracketed India with the Philippines and Pakistan as “high-risk” places and imposed a 14-day travel ban on these countries. Those who spend more than two hours even during transit in India are barred from travelling to Hong Kong.

Pakistan on Monday (April 19) put India in Category-C list of the countries over the spike in pandemic cases, banning travel to and from India. Last week over 800 pilgrims went to the neighbouring country on the occasion of Baisakhi.

Many countries have claimed that travelers from India were detected Covid-positive on arrival despite boarding the flight with a ‘negative’ certificate. Canada recently said that about one-third of the passengers who arrived in the country between March 3 and 19 and tested positive on arrival were from Delhi.

Also read: White House mum on ban on export of vaccine raw materials to India

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