Home / News / World /  Covid-19 travel ban: India urges countries to normalize travel with it

India on Thursday urged countries, that had cut travel links with it given the surge in covid-19 cases in April and May, to normalize travel with India.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said that the some initial steps had been taken by countries in this direction and the government of India would continue to accord this high priority.

He also said that India’s National Health Authority was planning an event at which India would look at sharing details of its indigenously developed CoWin app that had been used extensively to keep track of India’s vaccination drive.

On possible exports of vaccines from India to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Bagchi said that “for the moment, our priority remains on utilising made in India vaccines for our own vaccination programme."

On countries lifting the travel restrictions they had imposed on India at the start of a brutal second wave of covid-19 infections earlier this year, Bagchi said: “We would hope that as the covid situation continues to improve in our country, the other countries would take steps to normalize travel with India. We have seen some initial steps in this regard. The government will continue to prioritise this issue." Bagchi’s comments came in response to query on the condition of many Indian expatriates who have been languishing in India, unable to return to countries of work given the restrictions on flights. Cases of covid-19 in India had shot up in April-May with the country averaging 300,000 to 400,000 cases at its peak with the daily death toll touching 4,600 on one day which was a global record. Daily infections have now fallen below the 60,000 mark and several parts of the country that had been under lockdown are now cautiously re-opening.

To a question on India’s indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine getting the World Health Organisation’s seal of approval, Bagchi said that the Indian government was “closely following" the efforts of Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech to obtain emergency use listing authorization from the global health body.

On India sharing with countries its experience of using open source digital tools in contact tracing and vaccine management, Bagchi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made the offer during his intervention at the recent G-7 meeting held earlier this month. “In pursuance of this, the National Health Authority proposes to organize an event with partner countries across the world to share details of the indigenously developed CoWin App, which has been at the centre of our vaccination drive. We will provide further updates once the details of the event have been firmed up," he said.

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