Visa Crunch

Indian Students Fear Travel Restrictions To Study Abroad Destinations As Omicron Infections Surge

With increasing Covid-19 infections in India of the new variant, Omicron, there is a grave concern among the Indian students that popular study abroad destinations may impose travel restrictions.

“India is clearly in the third wave of Covid-19, and the whole thing seems driven by Omicron,” Dr. N. K. Arora, chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, was quoted saying by reports.

India has reported 1,892 Omicron infections, but Arora believes the new variety will account for almost half of new Covid cases in metropolitan areas, supplanting Delta as the prevalent variant.

Countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada have previously imposed travel bans on India due to concerns about the Delta variant. The United Kingdom imposed an embargo on India on April 19, 2021, while Canada imposed one on April 22, 2021.

The United Kingdom’s “traffic light” system assigns a country’s status as red, amber, or green, with each comprising distinct regulations and terms for travel and quarantine based on daily case statistics.

On August 8, 2021, the UK altered India’s status from red to amber, while Canada waited five months longer, relaxing its India travel restriction on September 27, 2021.

“Following the peak of India’s second Covid-19 wave in May, pressure on the Indian healthcare system has lifted, as the number of Covid-19 cases has fallen,” said the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office update on August 8, 2021.

Canada had also resumed direct flights to India after long months of closure in September 2021, as the Canadian government had said in a release that “As of September 27, 2021, direct flights from India to Canada will resume.”

Indian has started to report a high number of Omicron infections and the same has been on a rapid rise with no signs of decrease in the number of infections. India reported around 1.40 lakh of Covid-19 cases on January 9, 2022.

All the states of the Indian territory have been alarmed by the Central government to reactivate their Covid war rooms and bolster their healthcare institutional system, notably in terms of oxygen supply and hospital bed availability.

The World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, has warned that “India could see a significant increase.”

“We’ll find out in the next two weeks”, she said.

Although Omicron cases are on the rise in India, neither the UK nor Canada have imposed any Indian travel prohibitions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States stated, “If you are a non-US citizen, non-US immigrant, and are not fully vaccinated, you will not be allowed to enter the US.”

“There are just a few exceptions to the obligation to produce confirmation of immunization.”

According to the UK government’s website, there are presently no nations or territories on the red list for travel to England. “We keep the red list under constant review and countries and territories can be added to the red list at any time,” it said.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada imposes travel limits on any nations that have high-risk or, in the case of Omicron, highly worrying variations.

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