Against the backdrop of a massive spike in Covid-19 infections, several countries including New Zealand, the UK, the US, Singapore, Pakistan, and Hong Kong have imposed fresh restrictions on travel to and from India.
After PM Boris Johnson canceled his visit to India for the second time, UK authorities issued a fresh advisory putting India on their ‘red list for travel on a “precautionary basis”. This implies that anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen cannot enter the UK if they have been in India in the previous 10 days.
UK residents arriving from India will have to quarantine in a hotel for 11 nights. Others from India will not be able to travel to the UK at all. A four-day grace period has also been accorded to those who need to travel back to the UK without having to quarantine in a hotel.
This comes after 103 cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 were reported in the country. The travel ban has led to a lot of confusion and chaos among Indian students studying in the UK. Significant concerns are being raised about how the new restrictions impact student eligibility for the Graduate visa route for which they needed to be in the country by particular dates.
Meanwhile, Air India has canceled all the flights to and from the UK from April 24 to 30.
The U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a ‘Level 4 (Very High)’ warning for potential travelers to India asking them to “avoid all travel” to the country even if they are fully vaccinated.
“If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated before travel. All travelers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands,” it says.
Hong Kong suspended flights from India in addition to Pakistan and the Philippines from Tuesday for two weeks, declaring them as “extremely high-risk” after a mutant Covid-19 variant was detected in the financial hub for the first time.
This comes after 53 passengers on a flight from New Delhi to the city tested positive for Covid-19 as per authorities. The passengers flew into Hong Kong on a Vistara flight on April 4.
New Zealand also imposed a ban on any travel from India after it detected 23 Covid-19 cases among passengers arriving from outside earlier this month.
Reportedly, 17 of the 23 cases were found positive for the Indian variant of SARS-CoV-2, prompting authorities to put a ban on travel from India.
Singapore has tightened its Covid-19 rules for travelers from India, who will have to serve an additional seven days of stay-home notice at their residence following their 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities.
With immediate effect, Singapore will also reduce entry approvals for non-Singapore citizens or permanent residents due to the worsening situation in India and the emergence of new virus variants.
“Migrant workers arriving from India in the construction, marine, and process sectors will continue to be subjected to a 21-day stay-home notice. These measures will minimize importation risks and protect public health”, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said.
Pakistan on Monday imposed a ban on travelers from India for the next two weeks putting it on the list of Category C Countries citing the spread of a new variant of the novel coronavirus in the neighboring country.
The 815 Sikhs pilgrims that reached Lahore last week from India to attend the Baisakhi festival have been permitted to stay for 10 days.
Meanwhile, Canada has not yet imposed any travel restrictions despite flights from India continuing to be its top source of international passengers testing positive for Covid-19.
As per Health Canada, of the 106 Covid-infected flights that landed in Canada since March 4, 30 originated from Delhi – nine landing at Vancouver and 21 at YYZ.
The travel restrictions come as countries continue to be wary over the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India which has seen a continuous spike in cases. India recorded 2.94 lakh fresh cases on Tuesday, the second-highest daily count ever recorded by any country.