US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden
Brendan Smialowski/AFP

As COVID-19 cases in India continue to hit record highs over the last few days, several nations have announced travel restrictions. While some have temporarily stopped flight services to the country, others are calling for all citizens to leave India and even threatening imprisonment. On Friday, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation restricting travel from India from May 4 even as Australia threatened to jail or fine citizens returning from India.

President Biden has announced a partial suspension of entry for "non-citizens" of the US because of the "extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the country". Students seeking to commence studies in the fall, academics, journalists and individuals who provide critical infrastructure support in countries affected by a geographic COVID-19 restriction may qualify for an exception. The new rule will not apply to lawful permanent resident and non-citizen national of the United States or the the spouse of a citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Earlier this week the Department of State had issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory advising against all travel to India. This is highest possible advisory level, and the US government had advised citizens to not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, the Australian government has temporarily barred citizens from entering the country if they happened to be in India within 14 days. The decision was announced after a meeting of the National Cabinet on Friday and will come into force from Monday. "Failure to comply with an emergency determination under the Biosecurity Act, 2015 may incur a civil penalty of 300 penalty units, five years' imprisonment or both," an official statement from the ministry said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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