the coronavirus crisis
India surpassed 400,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period for the first time on Saturday, marking yet another global daily infection record. The country recorded 3,523 deaths during the same span, which experts believe to be an undercount, Al Jazeera reports. Additionally, a fire broke out in a COVID-19 hospital ward in western India, reportedly killing 16 patients and two staff members.
As the surge worsens, several countries, including the United States, have restricted travel from India. The U.S., which has also been delivering pandemic-related supplies to the country, will officially implement the travel ban on May 4 "in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating" there, the White House confirmed Friday. The policy won't apply to American citizens, lawful permanent residents, or others with exemptions, nor will it apply to humanitarian workers.
The White House said the administration was taking this step based on advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Friday that the move likely won't affect the U.S.'s coronavirus trajectory, which he's generally optimistic about. "It's probably going to do more harm to India than any good that it attributes to us," Gottlieb said, adding that a highly contagious variant first identified in India is already circulating in the U.S. and "the best way to reduce the risk of that variant is, frankly, to get more Americans vaccinated ... not restricting travel at this point." Read more at Al Jazeera and CNBC.