Australia has become the latest country to add India to its "red list" of high-risk countries amid a ferocious second wave COVID-19 pandemic in the region.
The restrictions, announced by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on April 22, include flights to and from India to Australia, even for those wanting to travel for weddings and funerals, reports said.
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This comes days after the United Kingdom added India to the travel "red list" on April 19. The announcement was made by the country's Health Secretary Matt Hancock hours after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled his visit to India.
The UK "red list", which includes 39 countries along with India, denies entry to anyone who has visited the listed nations in the past 10 days. The British and Irish citizens, however, are allowed to return but would be mandatorily quarantined for 10 days from the time of arrival.
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India will be added to the stringent red list from 4 am on April 23, Hancock told Parliament. "We must protect the progress that we've made in this country," the Health Secretary said, adding that 103 COVID-19 cases of the "Indian variant"—B.1.617"—have now been found in the UK.
Besides the UK, flights from India are also banned in New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Early on April 20, the US' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel advisory for all its citizens to avoid travels to India.
"Travelers should avoid all travel to India," the advisory said. "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 developments are unsurprising for industry observers who expected more governments to announce a ban on flights, or travel advisories, unless there is a dramatic arrest in cases in India. "Nearly all international flights out of India have at least one case of an infected passenger," said a senior industry executive who declined to be identified.
However, India’s COVID-19 case tally crossed 1.59 crore with 314,835 new infections reported as per the health ministry’s update on April 22. This is the first time that new cases have crossed the 3-lakh mark and also the highest single-day rise anywhere in the world.
India also reported a record 2,104 new deaths and 178,841 recoveries in the last 24 hours, the latest release shows. More than 13.23 crore vaccinations have been administered across India, according to the April 22 update, with 2,211,334 new vaccinations reported in a day.Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here