The US government has told its citizens in India to leave the country as soon as possible because of the current coronavirus situation. The Department of State issued a Level 4 advisory -- the highest issued by them -- asking citizens "not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so".
The department added that there are 14 direct daily flights between India and the US as well as other services that connect through Europe.
This advisory comes as India struggles to cope with a record number of coronavirus infections. The country's healthcare system has crumbled under the immense pressure, leading to shortage of medical oxygen, oxygen-related equipments, hospital beds and even drugs. Multiple states had flagged concerns about dwindling vaccine supply too.
India currently has 29,78,709 active cases, while the death toll has increased to 2,01,187, according to Health Ministry data at 8 am on Thursday. On Wednesday, India added 3,60,960 cases. The country has the world's fastest-growing caseload.
As cases continue to rise at a breakneck pace, multiple countries have banned flights from India and put in place several added measures. France, Iran, UAE, Kuwait, Indonesia, US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Australia, among others, have banned flights from India.
Meanwhile, India is all set to open up its vaccination drive for all above 18 years. The Centre opened up registration for the new additions on April 28. According to the government, around 1.33 crore people registered themselves for vaccination on Wednesday. Soon after it opened, the CoWIN app where the registrations are taking place, faced glitches leading to a delay in the process for some. So far Serum Institute's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin have been used in the drive. Russian vaccine Sputnik V has received emergency use authorisation and will soon be made available in the vaccination drive.