Bay Area Indian Population Assesses Impact of Impending COVID Travel Ban

The Biden Administration announced on Friday new travel restrictions from India as that country experiences an out-of-control surge of COVID-19. Maria Medina reports. (4-30-21)

Video Transcript

- Looking live out at SFO. Just a matter of days, travel to and from India we'll get a lot tougher as the country grapples with a surge in COVID cases that spiraled out of control. KPIX 5 Maria Medina live in San Jose with how the new restrictions are already affecting the Bay Area, Maria.

MARIA MEDINA: And Ken, President Biden just announced a ban on most travel from India to the US starting on Tuesday. But the impact on this will be beyond just travel.

ANUPAM BHATIA: My family, extended family who are going through right now is very devastating and heartbreaking.

MARIA MEDINA: Anupam Bhatia says he's lost more than 30 family members and friends in India to COVID.

ANUPAM BHATIA: Whatever we're hearing is very tragic.

MARIA MEDINA: With the country now accounting for more than a third of global cases. The Biden administration announced new travel restrictions that will begin on Tuesday.

MARC CASTO: On Tuesday, all non-US citizens or permanent residents will no longer be allowed to enter the United States. It is an indefinite travel ban. It's going to be significant particularly for those of us in the Bay Area. The Indian population in particular it's quite large in this region.

MARIA MEDINA: Not only will travel be impacted, Anupam also co-owns Aurum restaurant in Los Altos with his executive Chef.

- These are cumin.

MARIA MEDINA: They say the pandemic's forced prices for imported ingredients from India to skyrocket. Now they worry travel restrictions will make costs soar even higher or make it nearly impossible for Indian restaurants and stores to get.

ANUPAM BHATIA: Buy some substitutes, whatever you can do best, you know. And try to solicit from different places whenever we can get things.

MARIA MEDINA: Anupam says he's just grateful his parents came to the US right before India's latest surge. But now, they don't know when it's safe to return.

ANUPAM BHATIA: Now with the pandemic, they will have been extended stay. And with travel restrictions, I don't know when they can go back. But right now, there's now way I can send them back.