India will open borders to tourists as early as next week

India will welcome the first international tourists in October after 18 months of closures at its borders and a series of COVID-19-related surges that left India unable to function properly.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced that it would begin issuing tourist visas for international visitors. Chartered flights will allow tourists to travel to India starting October 15. Commercial flights will only be allowed for arrivals until November 15.

After the spring peak Sean3810/Getty Images, COVID-19 cases are declining in India.

India was the first country to experience a major COVID-19 spike earlier in the year. The Delta variant drove more than 400,000 COVID-19 cases per day at its peak in spring and hospital beds overwhelmed.

Since then, the number of cases has declined significantly and vaccination rates have increased. India's biggest vaccination campaign, India celebrated its milestone on Thursday with the Health Ministry announcing that 93 million (930 million) doses had been administered.

According to Oxford's Our World In Data, approximately 255 million Indians are now fully vaccinated. This is 18.4% of India's population of 1.38billion.

The end of the pandemic is still not in sight. To stop the spread of COVID-19, domestic measures are still in place throughout the country and visitors are requested to follow them. Masks are required for public transportation and public places. In the United States, social distancing and limits on capacity are in effect. Many states have also issued fines for noncompliance.

Officials stated that foreign tourists must adhere to all protocols and norms related to COVID-19, as they are notified from time to time by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.