U.S. urges Americans not to travel to India as pandemic worsens there

The United States government on Wednesday advised Americans not to travel to India due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic there. The government also advised Americans already in India to “exercise increased caution due to crime and terrorism.”

“The Department of State renewed its Travel Advisory for India on May 5, 2021. The Department continues to advise travelers not to travel to India. This replaces the previous Travel Advisory issued on April 28, 2021,” the U.S. State Department said.

On April 28, 2021, the Department approved the voluntary departure of family members of U.S. government employees, and on May 5, 2021, the Department approved the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees.

It advised U.S. citizens who wish to depart India should take advantage of available commercial transportation options.

It said Americans should read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Department wrote: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for India due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in India.

“Do not travel to:

“· The state of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) due to terrorism and civil unrest.

“· Within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict.

“Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.

“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

“The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to these areas. Read the country information page.

“Read the country information page.

“If you decide to travel to India:


“State of Jammu and Kashmir

“Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Avoid all travel to this state (with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh). Sporadic violence occurs particularly along the Line of Control (LOC) separating India and Pakistan, and in tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam. The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting certain areas along the LOC. Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

“India-Pakistan Border

India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence on both sides of the border. The only official India-Pakistan border crossing point for persons who are not citizens of India or Pakistan is in the state of Punjab between Atari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan. The border crossing is usually open, but confirm the current status of the border crossing prior to commencing travel. A Pakistani visa is required to enter Pakistan. Only U.S. citizens residing in India may apply for a Pakistani visa in India. Otherwise apply for a Pakistani visa in your country of residence before traveling to India. Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

“Northeastern States

“Incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets, occur occasionally in the northeast.

U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without special authorization from the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata. Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

“Central and East India

“Maoist extremist groups, or “Naxalites,” are active in a large swath of India from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal, particularly in rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and on the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. The Naxalites have conducted frequent terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials.

“Due to the fluid nature of the threat, all U.S. government travelers to states with Naxalite activity must receive special authorization from the U.S. consulate responsible for the area to be visited. U.S. officials traveling only to the capital cities in these states do not need prior authorization. Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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