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The US government told its citizens to leave India as soon as possible because of the country’s escalating Covid-19 crisis.

In a Level 4 travel advisory --- the highest issued by the Department of State -- U.S. citizens were told “not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so." There are 14 direct daily flights between India and the U.S. and other services that connect through Europe, the department said.

Indian authorities and hospitals are struggling to cope with record Covid-19 infections and deaths. Official data on Wednesday showed new infections rose by 360,960 in the prior 24 hours, while 3,293 additional lives were lost -- both a record for the country. India has the world’s fastest-growing caseload.

Australia earlier this week banned all flights from India to relieve pressure on the nation’s system of mainly quarantining returned residents from overseas in inner-city hotels, after a jump in infections. The U.K. has barred any visitor who’s been in India in the previous 10 days from entering. British and Irish nationals arriving in England from India must quarantine in a hotel.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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