US scales back India travel warning, cites ‘moderate level of Covid-19’

The US State Department has lowered its travel advice for India to its second-lowest level as the virus situation there subsides after one of the world’s deadliest flare-ups.

The shift to advising Americans to “be more careful” when visiting India came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the South Asian nation now has a “moderate level of Covid-19”.

India was ravaged by the delta variant earlier this year, but reported cases have fallen sharply since May, from hundreds of thousands a day to about 30,000. The US has adjusted its travel advisories to account for virus hotspots around the world, and the CDC on Monday raised its warning for travel to Turkey to a “very high” level from Covid.

Travelers should ensure they are fully vaccinated before visiting India, the CDC said, and it recommends wearing a mask and keeping distance from others while there.

The May surge saw India become a new Covid epicenter, with a rapid increase in cases overwhelming under-prepared hospitals and leading to shortages of oxygen and essential medicines. It became symbolic of the crises facing poorer countries as they struggle to secure vaccine supplies amid demand from developed economies and are attacked by new variants. At the height of the revival, more than 4,000 people were dying every day in India.

Countries from the UK to Australia restricted travelers from India and parts of the world still remain off limits. Tuesday’s service in the US does not apply to travelers from India.

While cases are declining, scientists expect India to see another wave of virus before the end of the year, amid a slow rollout of vaccinations and difficulties in containing infections.

The next peak could peak in October, though the wave will likely be smaller than the one in May, peaking at about 100,000 to 150,000 per day, according to estimates by researchers led by Mathukumalli Vidyasagar and Manindra Agrawal of the Indian Institute. of Technology in Hyderabad and Kanpur respectively.

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