The Biden administration announced Friday it would begin to restrict travel from India on Tuesday as the world’s second-most populated country suffers an overwhelming surge in coronavirus cases.
“On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the administration will restrict travel from India starting immediately,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India. The policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4.”
The travel ban comes a year after Biden vilified such restrictions as xenophobic when pursued by President Donald Trump while the Wuhan virus began to mutate into a global pandemic from China.
“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia,” Biden said campaigning in Iowa on Jan. 31, the day Trump’s travel ban on China was announced.
Joe Biden opposed the China travel restrictions wisely put in place by President Trump in January – restrictions that health experts credit with slowing the spread of coronavirus & saving lives.
If Biden had been in charge, more Americans would have contracted the virus faster. pic.twitter.com/yDXRYl6lOk
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) March 12, 2020
Biden doubled-down on the smear that the Republican incumbent was xenophobic the next day.
“We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “We need to lead the way with science – not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.”
The Biden administration just announced a travel ban on India beginning next week.
Here's Joe Biden calling Trump xenophobic the day after Trump issued a travel ban on China. https://t.co/1aFI4y2WOi
— Tristan Justice (@JusticeTristan) April 30, 2021
The China travel ban, initially opposed by White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci was later praised by the infectious disease expert after it was shown to slow infection from Wuhan to the U.S.
“We’ve done really quite well thus far, and I think one of the reasons why is that what we did early on was that travel restriction from China, preventing a lot of people who are infected, particularly from Wuhan, from coming into the country,” Fauci said on Fox Business in late February last year.
As Trump pursued more travel bans to curb the spread of the novel Wuhan coronavirus, including shutting down U.S.-European travel in March, Biden continued to condemn the measures as ineffective.
A wall will not stop the coronavirus.
Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it.
This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet — and we need a plan to combat it.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) March 13, 2020
Biden now appears to embrace the policies he once vilified, banning travel from India as the coronavirus develops into a humanitarian crisis. The densely-populated nation reported new record-high death tolls Wednesday and Thursday, averaging an estimated 3,050 deaths each day from the Chinese virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and humanitarian workers among others will be exempt from the Indian travel ban, according to one administration official in the Wall Street Journal. Those traveling, however, will be subject to quarantine and testing requirements.