The second wave of the spread of Covid-19 virus across India has been catastrophic. From an average of 100 deaths per week in March 2021 to over 3000 deaths per week by the end of April, India is reeling under another massive attack of the virus. The medical infrastructure is unable to handle the health crisis resulting in chaos and in tremendous loss of life.
The U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has strictly warned against any travel to India and issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice due to this situation.
What Is A Level 4 Advisory?
Based on established risk indicators such as health, crime, terrorism and other potential risks, The U.S. State Department assigns every other country a Travel Advisory Level that ranges from 1-4. This helps is assessing the current conditions in any country that might affect the welfare or safety of U.S. citizens in that country.
India Travel: Protect Yourself With Medical Insurance
Peace of Mind Before Your Travel
A level 4 indicates a strict “Do Not Travel” warning. This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. In this case, it is the aggressive spread of Covid-19 virus across India and the government’s inability to provide sufficient care.
What Does The Level 4 Travel Advisory Warning Against India Mean?
A Level 4 notice means that there is a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.
The U.S. State Department strictly warns against travel to India at this time. The Level 4 states, “Do not travel to India due to COVID-19, crime, and terrorism.”
Requirements For Travel To India
Despite the travel advisory, there could be situations where travel is inevitable. This could be either for emergency purposes or U.S. diplomatic services. U.S. citizens who simply have to travel to India in the next few weeks are strongly urged for the following requirements –
- Preferably get fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before travel. This means taking both the shots required by some vaccinations or the single dose required by Johnson & Johnson. Immunity sets in only after 2 weeks after the last does is administered. Having said that, please note that there is no data to show that the current vaccines protect against the new variants of the Covid-91 virus.
- All travelers should also take flu vaccines before traveling to India.
- Travelers should also continue to take personal health safety measures to protect themselves, including practicing social or physical distancing, cleaning hands with soap/hand sanitizer, wearing masks, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation.
- Additionally, travelers are discouraged from traveling to the states of Jammu and Kashmir, and within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to terrorism and civil unrest.
- The U.S. State Department also warns against violent crime, sexual assault and terrorist attacks that might occur at tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets & shopping malls, and government facilities.
- The U.S. State Department advices U.S. citizens against travel from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana to West Bengal as it has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in these areas.
- Lastly, U.S. citizens should obey all health measures instituted by Indian officials.
India Travel: New Guidelines Effective Feb 22, 2021
U.S. Consulates in Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata are shut due to the shelter in place lockdowns and have cancelled most immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments until further notice. All travelers are expected to travel with valid visas and passports that do not require immediate consular services.
Flight Restrictions To India
Similar to the above travel warning, other countries have imposed restrictions against travel from India:
- Germany, Australia, and France have announced restricted entry from India. Please contact the local embassy to and airline to update yourselves with the latest travel advisory from these countries.
- Starting April 20, 2021, Hong Kong has prohibited passenger flights from India, Pakistan, and the Philippines into their airports. This means any traveler transiting through Hong Kong and heading to India will have to reconsider their flight itinerary.
- Travelers who were in India for the last 14 days cannot enter Italy and Singapore.
Keeping the above restrictions and prohibitions, travelers to and from India are advised to reconsider their travel plans for the next couple of months until the Covid surge in India is brought under control.