The United States has improved the travel advisory for India, lowering it from the highest Level 4, which means no travel, to Level 3, which urges citizens to reconsider travel.
It also eased travel recommendations on Pakistan from Level 4 to Level 3.
The improvement of the travel advisories for India and Pakistan by the State Department on Monday comes in an acknowledgement of the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the region.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for India due to COVID-19, indicating a high level of COVID-19 in the country, the State Department said on Monday.
"Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorised vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers," it said.
"Reconsider travel to India due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution due to crime and terrorism," it said.
The latest travel advisory replaces the one issued on May 5 that had placed India in the Level 4 category.
When the last month's advisory was issued, India was struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported. Hospitals were reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.
While the CDC issued a Level 2 Travel Health Notice for Pakistan due to COVID-19, indicating a moderate level of the pandemic, the State Department maintained Level 3 risk for US citizens travelling to the country due to terrorism.
"Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism and sectarian violence. Exercise increased caution in Pakistan due to COVID-19. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory," the State Department said.
Canada has extended the ban on direct flights from India. The ban, initially imposed on April 22, was slated to end on July 21--it will now end on August 21. The ban was imposed over fears of a second wave in India due to the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus. Also, passengers who travel to Canada from India via an indirect route will need to test negative in a pre-departure COVID-19 molecular test from a third country.
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