Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in India, the United States public health body has asked its citizens to avoid all travel to India.
Issuing a Level 4 advisory, which is the highest available, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said: “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.”
The CDC recommended that the traveller get fully vaccinated before travel if the trip is unavoidable. “All travelers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands,” it added.
Earlier, the U.S. State Department had said it will boost its “Do Not Travel” guidance to about 80% of countries worldwide, citing “unprecedented risk to travellers” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State Department already listed 34 out of about 200 countries as “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” including places like Chad, Kosovo, Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Haiti, Mozambique, Russia and Tanzania. Getting to 80% would imply adding nearly 130 countries.
The department did not reveal which countries will fall under which category. That will become known as guidance is issued individually for each country in the coming week.
Travel is also discouraged for the remaining 20%, though not as emphatically. It says people with plans to visit those countries should reconsider before proceeding.
The State Department said the move does not imply a reassessment of current health situations in some countries, but rather “reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s) existing epidemiological assessments.”