ATLANTA. GA (WJBF)- Most non-US citizens can no longer enter the United States because of a new travel ban from India that went into effect today, because of a surge of COVID-19 cases in India.
As cases soared in her home country, Khanjan Gandhi quickly preponed her mother’s flight to Atlanta.
“It was nerve wrecking, everyday I would check are they still flying, are they still flying,” said Gandhi.
For the past few weeks, India has averaged more than 300-thousand new infections daily.
“There’s one thing that the flight is operational, but flying your mom in the middle of a pandemic across multiple cities and stops, it’s just worrying,” said Gandhi.
India has the 2nd highest number of COVID-19 cases just behind the United States, and the third highest death toll.
“India has hit a new milestone, and not the good ones, you are worried day and night,” said Gandhi.
The White House says India accounts for one third of new global cases and has a new strain mutating forcing the US to implement a travel ban starting Tuesday.
“My parents were supposed to travel on May 12th who they still haven’t seen. It’s made it personally harder for immigrants like me to visit and spend some time together,” said Yogesh Rajaraman.
“There has been a line of 4-5 hours just to get tested, and sometimes these tests are not even picking up results. If you don’t get a positive test, you don’t get oxygen, or you cannot go to a hospital,” said Gandhi.
Data shows that only 2-percent of India’s population is vaccinated.
“There are not enough vaccines. It became like a JENGA block and the whole tower just collapsed,” said , Chef and Author Nandita Godbole, Atlanta resident.
For Gandhi, it’s some sense of relief that her mom is back safe and sound just in time for mother’s day.
“The joy of a granddaughter playing with her, holding so that’s been a delight to watch,” said Gandhi.
Some critics blame the Indian government for not doing enough to stop the spread, especially with recent elections in India and religious events where many COVID-19 protocols like masking and social distancing were not strictly followed, which could have added to the variant spread.
If you would like to help fight the COVID-19 battle in India, you can donate to giveindia.org or to sewausa.org to raise money for oxygen cylinders, ventilators and PPE equipment as the country is facing a severe shortage in hospitals.