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Biden urged to increase aid to India as travel banned due to COVID-19 surge

Wikimedia Creative Commons by Anjan Borah

A ban on travel from India into the United States begins Tuesday as the the South Asian country continues to set daily records of new COVID infections.

According to People, hospitals, crematoriums and graveyards have been overwhelmed in the country.

“On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration will restrict travel from India. The policy was implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

Indian Americans are the second largest Asian American group in the United States with a population of more than 4 million. As could be expected, concern is high among them.

“I have a dozen family members from extended family,” Badri Gopalakrhisnan, an economist at University of Washington, said to KOMO. “Five of them have passed away.”

“My husband lost his first cousin in southern India,” said Lalita Uppala who is with Indian American Community Services in the Seattle area.

Senators  Mark Warner (D-WV) and John Cornyn (R-TX) called on Biden this week to increase aid to the country.

As the United States strengthens its capacity to fight this virus with vastly expanded testing and widespread vaccination for Americans, we must ramp up our support to countries that are being particularly hard hit, such as India, through the provision of medical supplies and surplus vaccinations”, they wrote, reported the American Bazaar.

India reported 386,452 new cases and 3,498 deaths in a single day Friday. It’s the 9th consecutive day of over 300,000 infections.

“We are watching with growing alarm the unprecedented surge of Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, which has overwhelmed hospitals and the overall health system in India”, the two senators wrote.

The Defense Department announced this week that two military aircraft with supplies are headed to India.

“They are carrying oxygen cylinders/regulators, rapid diagnostic kits, N95 masks, and pulse oximeters”, said Defense Secretary  Lloyd Austin.

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