US continues to keep India on level 4 of its ‘Do Not Travel’ list but plans to end COVID-19 screening for international arrivals at its airports, from September 14 onwards. By Tanvi Jain
The United States has recently confirmed that while Pakistan and Bangladesh are off its ‘Do Not Travel’ list, India is still very much on it, that too on the level 4 category, amid a continuous spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Earlier in August, when the US had started working with the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and had decided to switch from global travel advisories to the country-specific system, most of the countries were on level 4 in its list. However, on Wednesday, along with Pakistan and Bangladesh, four other countries namely — Benin, Kuwait, Mexico, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, moved to level 3.
“India – Level 4: Do Not Travel,” US Department of State had mentioned on its website. “Do not travel to India due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism. Travellers to India may experience border closures, airport closures, travel prohibitions, stay at home orders, business closures, and other emergency conditions within India due to COVID-19,” it had further said.
Meanwhile, the United States has further decided to end enhanced screening of international passengers at airports from September 14. “Beginning September 14, 2020, the United States Government will remove requirements for directing all flights carrying airline passengers arriving from, or recently had a presence in, certain countries to land at one of 15 designated airports and halt enhanced entry health screening for these passengers. Currently, enhanced entry health screening is conducted for those arriving from, or with recent presence in, China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, the Schengen region of Europe, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), Ireland and Brazil,” CDC mentioned on its website.
“We now have a better understanding of COVID-19 transmission that indicates symptom-based screening has limited effectiveness because people with COVID-19 may have no symptoms or fever at the time of screening, or only mild symptoms. Transmission of the virus may occur from passengers who have no symptoms or who have not yet developed symptoms of infection. Therefore, CDC is shifting its strategy and prioritising other public health measures to reduce the risk of travel-related disease transmission. USG resources will instead be dedicated to more effective mitigation efforts that focus on the individual passenger,” it added.