India Is Now 'Low Risk' For Travellers From US. What Does It Mean?

Indicating a low level of Covid-19 in India, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased travel ratings for India to "low risk".

As Covid cases in India continue to see a sharp decline, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on March 28, revised its earlier Level 3 (high risk) advisory to Level 1 (low risk). Earlier this month, US had also removed all quarantine and testing requirements for international travellers.

What does a Level 1 advisory by CDC mean?

A Level 1 health advisory categorised as Low Risk by CDC, indicates low transmission of Covid in the country. Travellers are, however, advised to be fully vaccinated when travelling to the country.

Why is India categorised as 'low risk' despite a decline in Covid transmission?

As per the CDC, travellers from the US still need to exercise increased caution due to crime and terrorism in India.

Which other countries have been issued Level 1 advisory by CDC?

There are over 30 countries on this list including Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Taiwan, and more.

How many levels of risk does the CDC define in its travel health advisory?

There are five levels of risk defined by the CDC based on the prevalent Covid conditions around the world.

What does this mean for US citizens?

It means that they can now travel to India with minimal risk of contracting Covid and developing severe symptoms.

Are they subject to tests on departure and arrival?

As of this month, there are no testing or quarantine requirements for international travellers in India.

What does this mean for travellers from India?

This does not change anything for travellers in India. They can continue to travel with a valid visa and without testing.

What regions does the CDC recommend you avoid during your travel to India?

The CDC advises avoiding the following regions for travel.

1. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir barring Leh and Ladakh due to the risk of terrorism and civil unrest.

2. Within 10 kms of the India-Pakistan border.

Furthermore, the CDC recommends exercising caution when travelling to the Northeastern states of India due to incidents of violence and insurgency. A similar recommendation is cited for Central and East India owing to extremist Naxalite groups and the possibility of violent attacks.

Does this apply to US government employees?

While the advisory applies to all US citizens, US government employees cannot travel to certain regions without special authorisation. These include the northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur and central and east Indian states with Naxalite activity.

What precautions can you take during your travel to India?

Here's what the CDC recommends for US citizens travelling to India:

1. Look up the US Embassy website and CDC's webpage for latest Covid-related information.

2. Women are advised not to travel alone to India and visit the Women Travellers page that described in detail the risk of sexual assault and forced marriages.

3. Review your travel plans and remain alert to your surroundings.

4. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive local updates and latest security information.

5. Keep updated on the local crime and security information.

6. Always have a contingency plan in place.

7. Follow the US embassy's social media pages.

Follow BOOM's Travel Explainers for more on travel guidelines and restrictions.

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