The U.S. will restrict travel from India starting Tuesday, the White House said Friday, citing a devastating rise in COVID-19 cases in the country and the emergence of potentially dangerous variants of the coronavirus.
President Joe Biden signed a proclamation barring entry to most foreigners who have been in India in the past 14 days, with exceptions for legal permanent residents, spouses and close family members of U.S. citizens, and some others. He cited the spread of the virus and its variants.
Dr. Shanta Dube with Wingate University told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson that she is all in favor of taking a cautious approach in the U.S. as India’s COVID-19 cases surge out of control.
“It’s just good practice. And why take the chance now?” Dube said. “Some folks that have traveled to India who were vaccinated here have actually contracted COVID there.”
Dube said the new restriction has already affected her family.
“My husband was supposed to travel today, in fact, and canceled his trip,” she said.
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India has reported more than 380,000 cases on Friday alone.
One big concern is the multiple variants that have shown up in the country and how that could affect a drop in cases here in the U.S.
“I don’t think that we can take that lightly at this point. I think we still need to be vigilant,” Dube said.
The TSA announced Friday it’s extending a mask mandate for travelers in the U.S. until Sept. 13.
Sandra Gibson said she supports that as people sit closer together on planes.
“Everybody is wearing their mask, and this time I traveled we weren’t 6 feet apart. The last time I traveled, we were 6 feet apart,” Gibson said.
In India, a vaccine shortage is not helping the country battle a devastating new wave of the virus.
“I’ve received messages from relatives that 300 people in line, two to three hours wait to get a vaccine,” Dube said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s administration made the determination on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.