Washington: The US has advised its citizens not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so and authorised the voluntary departure of family members of its employees in the Indian missions, saying the access to all types of medical care is becoming severely limited in the country amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases.
The US has put India on Level 4 Travel Advisory, the highest level issued by the Department of State.
The current Level 4 Travel Advisory asks US citizens not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so due to the current health situation in the country.
The Department of State also authorised the voluntary departure of family members of US government employees in Mission India.
US Embassy New Delhi and Consulates General Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai will remain open and continue to provide emergency consular services.
“#India: Access to medical care is severely limited due to COVID-19 cases. US citizens wishing to depart should use available commercial options now. Daily direct flights to the US and flights via Paris and Frankfurt are available,” the State Department tweeted.
In a health alert, the US Embassy in New Delhi said: “Access to all types of medical care is becoming severely limited in India due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.”
“We urge US citizens to enrol in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Programme) at step.state.gov in order to receive critical information from the Embassy related to health and safety in India,” it said.
It asked American citizens to visit the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website for the latest information on travel restrictions.
“New cases and deaths from COVID-19 have risen sharply throughout India to record levels. COVID-19 testing infrastructure is reportedly constrained in many locations,” the mission said in a statement.
A record single-day rise of 379,257 COVID-19 infections, 3,645 fatalities on Thursday pushed India’s tally of cases to 18.37 million and the death toll to 204,832.
“Hospitals are reporting shortages of supplies, oxygen, and beds for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related patients. US citizens are reporting being denied admittance to hospitals in some cities due to a lack of space. Some states have enacted curfews and other restrictions that limit movement and the operation of non-essential businesses,” it said.