The US has advised its citizens to avoid travelling to India, even if they are fully vaccinated as there is a 'very high level' of COVID-19 in the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) on Monday released travel recommendations by destination. It uses science-based Travel Health Notices to alert travellers to health threats around the world and advise on how to protect themselves.
The CDC has a 4-level system for COVID-19 and in that India is placed in 'Level 4: Very high level of COVID-19'.
In the note Monday, the department noted that "the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose unprecedented risks to travellers."
The CDC has urged Americans to avoid all travel to India.
Travellers should avoid all travel to India. Because of the current situation in India even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to India, the CDC said in a statement.
"Because of the current situation in India even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to India.
"If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated before travel. All travellers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands," it said.
The number of active coronavirus cases surpassed the 20-lakh mark in India as the country continued to record a mammoth surge in daily cases of the coronavirus disease.
The nationwide tally of COVID-19 cases mounted to 1,53,21,089 with a record single-day rise of 2,59,170 coronavirus infections, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.
The State Department announced Monday that it would begin to update its travel advisories to more closely align with those from the CDC. The update comes as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, which has now claimed more than 3 million lives worldwide.
It strongly recommended US citizens to reconsider all travel abroad encompassing 80 per cent of the world.
The advisories, it said, also take into account logistical factors, including in-country testing availability and current travel restrictions for US citizens.
This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80 per cent of countries worldwide, the State Department said.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose unprecedented risks to travellers. In light of those risks, the Department of State strongly recommends US citizens reconsider all travel abroad, it said.
According to the State Department, this does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country, but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department's Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC's existing epidemiological assessments.
On Monday, Britain added India to its COVID-19 travel "red list", which effectively bans all travel from the country and makes a 10-day hotel quarantine compulsory for UK residents arriving back to the country.
Earlier this month, New Zealand also restricted travellers from India due to a spike in the infections.