The new restrictions, which take effect on Tuesday, May 4 at 12:01 am ET, are on the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and were imposed because “the magnitude and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic” in India was “surging,” the White House said.
Biden on Friday signed a proclamation implementing the restrictions, which were first reported by Reuters.
The proclamation said India “accounts for over one-third of new global cases” and added that “proactive measures are required to protect the nation’s public health from travelers entering the United States” from India.
In January, Biden issued a similar ban on most non-U.S. citizens entering the country who have recently been in South Africa. He also reimposed an entry ban on nearly all non-U.S. travelers who have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders. China and Iran are also both covered by the policy.
The policy means most non-U.S. citizens who have been in one of the stated countries within the last 14 days are not eligible to travel to the United States. Permanent U.S. residents and family members and some other non-U.S. citizens, such as students, are exempted.
The decision to impose the latest travel restrictions came about quickly and was only reached in the last 24 hours, sources said.
The Indian Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment.
India has reported more than 300,000 new cases daily for nine days in a row, hitting another record of 386,452 on Friday.
Total deaths have surpassed 200,000 and cases are nearing 19 million—nearly 8 million since February alone.
Medical experts say real numbers may be five to 10 times higher than the official tally.
Other countries have imposed similar travel restrictions on India, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Singapore, while Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand have suspended all commercial travel with India.
On Wednesday, the White House said the United States was sending supplies worth more than $100 million to India to help it fight the COVID-19 surge.