India reported 2,59,170 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a record high since the beginning of the pandemic.

Travellers wearing face masks, as precautionary measure against the coronavirus pandemic, walk with their luggage at Kempegowda International Airport in BengaluruRepresentative image
news Coronavirus Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 09:43

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national public health agency of the United States of America, has issued an advisory to US citizens to avoid all travel to India as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the country. Even fully vaccinated people may be at risk in India, the CDC has said in its advisory issued on Monday. 

“Because of the current situation in India even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to India. If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated before travel. All travelers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands,” the advisory says. 

This comes on the same day Britain added India to its COVID-19 travel "red list," which effectively bans all travel from the country and makes a 10-day hotel quarantine compulsory for UK residents arriving back to the country. Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Monday confirmed the move in the House of Commons as he revealed that 103 cases of the so-called Indian variant had been identified in the UK, of which the "vast majority have links to international travel".

He said that samples of that variant have been analysed to see if the new variant has any "concerning characteristics", such as greater transmissibility or resistance to treatments and vaccines.

"After studying the data, and on a precautionary basis, we've made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list," the minister told MPs. “This means anyone who is not a UK or Irish citizen... cannot enter the UK if they have been in India in the previous 10 days," he said.

The new rules, which Hancock said has not been taken lightly , will come into force from Friday.

The move came hours after Downing Street had announced the cancellation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit to India next week due to a spike in coronavirus infections in the country.

On Tuesday morning, as per Union Health Ministry data, India reported 2,59,170 new COVID-19 cases, a record high since the pandemic. The number of cases have been increasing every single day, with each day recording the highest single-day increase. On Tuesday, 1,761 new deaths were recorded, taking the total death toll in the country so far to 1,80,530.

With PTI inputs

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