India is taking up with foreign countries about need for easing travel restrictions: MEA

India News Network | July 22
New Delhi:
India has been talking with foreign countries about the need for easing travel restrictions for Indians, given the improvement in the pandemic situation in the country, the Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday.
“We have been taking up with foreign countries the need to ease travel restrictions of Indians. We believe this easing will be an important step towards economic recovery post-COVID for all our countries,” the MEA spokesperson said in a media briefing.
He noted that there have been some positive steps in this direction and “we are hoping that more countries will allow the movement of people from India.”
More than half of the countries in the 27 member European Union (EU) have recognized the India manufactured Covishield vaccine co-developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, Bagchi said.
India had put in place travel bubbles with about three dozen countries in the world in the wake of the first wave of covid-19 infections in the country last year that had enabled mobility of people – especially those of Indians stuck abroad.
But countries clamped down on travel from India earlier this year after India was affected by a particularly brutal second wave of covid19 infections in April-May.
The second wave saw a record number of infections fuelled by the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, seen as a particularly virulent strain. The total number of covid-19 cases in India now stands at more than 31 million with the death toll at more than 419,000.
Earlier this week, the US revised its travel advisory for India, lowering it from the highest Level 4, which means no travel, to Level 3, which urges citizens to reconsider travel.
Canada on its part said it was extending its flight ban on India until August 21.
Asked about the resumption of the supply of vaccines to foreign nations, the MEA Spokesperson said, “As you know our domestic vaccination program has been continuing at a rapid pace. To supplement domestic production, we have been in touch with various partners regarding the possible import of the vaccines.”
With regard to WHO’s approval of Covaxine, he said, “we understand that Bharat Biotech had submitted its request along with all necessary documentation to the World Health Organization earlier this month. Again, I would refer you to the company for further updates and discussions.”

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