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India has been taking up the need for countries to ease travel restrictions on it given the improvement in the pandemic situation in the country, a senior government official said on Thursday.

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, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi told reporters at a foreign ministry briefing.

When asked if India had been pressing foreign governments to reverse their travel bans on Asia’s third largest economy given the steady decline in the number of covid-19 cases in the country, Bagchi said the matter had been taken up at various levels and various platforms.

“We believe this easing (of travel restrictions) will be an important step towards economic recovery post covid for all our countries. There have been come positive steps in this direction of easing of restrictions and we hope that more countries will continue to take steps towards normalizing movement of people from India," 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.

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