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After the B.1.617.2 variant has spread like wildfire in India, and has also been termed as a “variant of concern” from “variant of interest”, the European Commission has asked all the bloc members to come together and restrict travel to and from India. This way, they plan to control or minimise the spread of the virus in Europe.
The Commission has mentioned that it has followed the WHO’s proposal in doing so.
The variant, deemed to be powerful by the WHO, has already reached different parts of the world and has affected many countries like the US, Canada, Argentina, Panama and the Caribbean Islands.
The variant is considered dangerous for its ability to spread quickly at a faster rate.
This variant has also been found in Europe, with 23 positive cases in Italy after a flight from India landed in Rome.
The European Commission states that the need of the hour is to minimise the categories of travellers from India allowed into Europe. Along with that, measures to quarantine travellers from India are also to be made.
The EU statement has specified that these travel restrictions will not apply to those who have a genuine reason to travel to Europe. Examples for some of these reasons would be the need for international protection or family reasons, etc. These restrictions will not apply to those who have been long-term residents of European countries or European citizens, or family members of EU citizens.
Some countries in Europe have already temporarily banned entry from India or have tightened their restrictions on arrivals from India to avoid an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections. These countries include Denmark, Belgium, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Slovenia and Germany.
India is currently facing an upsurge of COVID-19 cases every day, with the Indian medical system being overwhelmed completely. According to Worldometer today, India has around 24,965,463 active cases with 274,411 deaths and 21,174,076 recoveries. Most of the states in India are either under partial lockdown with limited movement.
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