The State Department announced on Wednesday that it would approve the voluntary departure of nonemergency U.S. government employees in India as the country battles a second wave of coronavirus infections.
According to a travel advisory posted on the State Department’s website, the agency is urging U.S. citizens to take advantage of commercial flights out of India and has also approved the voluntary departure of family members of U.S. government employees.
India’s surge in Covid-19 cases has prompted other countries to take precautions concerning who is allowed within their borders. Earlier this week Australia began a travel ban, making it a criminal offense for its citizens in India to return home — a move some have condemned as overly harsh.
Last week, the Biden administration announced it would begin restricting travel from India to the United States, although restrictions will not apply to citizens or lawful permanent residents, their spouses, minor children or siblings as well as the parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents who are under 21.
Facing mounting pressure, the administration committed to exporting materials for vaccines to India along with therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and personal protective gear.