By Aaron Miller-
The US has delivered an urgent advise to all citizens to leave India as the resurgent coronavirus continues to overwhelm the country.
The US embassy in India asked US citizens there to take “advantage of available commercial transportation options now” and leave the Covid-ravaged country.The US Department of State issued a Level 4 travel advisory, the highest, telling citizens not to travel to India or to leave “as soon as it is safe to do so”.
It comes as Thursday’s statistics revealed a record 3,79,257 new Covid-19 infections, 3,645 fatalities, extending India’s tally of cases from 1,83,76,524, death toll to 2,04,832.
The order could also mean American citizens who may be asymptomatic, carrying the deadly virus back to America.
India’s second wave of the virus has torn through its largest cities and, on Wednesday, a record number of 360,960 cases and 3,293) deaths were reported. The south Asian nation has now recorded more than 18 million cases since last March, though experts have warned the true figures are likely far higher.
In a damning attack on prime minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the pandemic, Indian author Arundhati Roy condemned the government of being a “crisis-generating machine” that is “incapable of leading us out of this disaster”.
The U.S said it would send more than $100m (£72m) in aid to India, as the country’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said 40 countries had now pledged to send oxygen in aid as domestic supplies dwindle.
Amid the whole frenzy, health authorities in Brazil said they found a live version of the common cold virus in imported batches of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid vaccine.
Virologist Angela Rasmussen from Canada’s vaccine agency told AFP:The discovery “raises questions about the integrity of the manufacturing processes”, and could prove a safety issue for those who have weaker immune systems.
The US put India on Level 4 Travel Advisory, the highest level issued by the Department of State, saying access to all types of medical care is becoming severely limited in India. Coronavirus Live Updates
“#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.
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.
In an 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.
The US 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.
“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.
On Thursday, India saw a record 3,79,257 new Covid-19 infections, 3,645 fatalities, which pushed India’s tally of cases to 1,83,76,524, death toll to 2,04,832.
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