WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS News) — The U.S. will restrict travel from India beginning May 4, as COVID-19 ravages the world’s second-largest country.

The White House announced the new policy on Friday afternoon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already declared India “very high risk,” and recommended that Americans avoid all travel to India.

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The travel restriction is a sign of just how dire the situation has gotten on half a world away.

“Rohit and I get a call, I think every few hours, about someone’s parents, someone’s friend, someone’s sibling, whose medical condition is deteriorating,” said local resident Kanika Mediratta. “Their oxygen saturation levels are going down.”

From their Bay Area home, the Kanika Mediratta and her husband Rohit have been doing everything they can to help friends and family in a country that now accounts for more than one third of new global cases.

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“We have announced that there’s going to be a travel restriction starting on Tuesday, on the advice of the centers of disease control,” Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday.

The White House says multiple aggressive variants are thought to be fueling the surge in India. That’s the reason for the new restrictions which will ban most non-US citizens from traveling to the United States.

“There are people in India who traveled when things opened up, who are not going to be able to come back,” Rohit Mediratta said. “It is going to be difficult.”

“People are worried,” Vice President Harris said. “No question, people are worried.”

While relief efforts are being organized in countries around the world, getting those supplies in a position to make a difference is going to take time.

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“So the next two weeks are tough,” Rohit worries. “Everybody is bracing for what is coming down the road.”