Sources have not provided information about where employees were killed and positive tests were conducted in the country but the US operated five consulates in various cities and one embassy in the capital of New Delhi.
Sources said that American personnel, family members and locally employed employees in India started getting their Kovid vaccines within the last two weeks. Within the last six weeks – even India’s case rates had ticked and staff had not yet been vaccinated – two high-level visits to the country were made by Biden administration officials.
Sources told CNN that some employees were disappointed because they felt they had not been given clear information about when the US diplomatic mission would receive the vaccines and felt they were not being given priority because many diplomats in Europe and the US The staff has already received their shots.
A source told CNN that the State Department has carried out vaccinations at locations where employees live on campuses – including Kabul and Baghdad – who may have contributed to the mission with such a delayed queue. However, as a source, the vaccines “came too late to the deaths of two people … it’s terrible.”
Earlier this year, diplomats from abroad were disappointed at the speed with which they were getting the vaccine, which was accepted by Secretary Tony Blinken in a comment in February. State Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier this month that by April 18, “the department (has) completed the deployment of vaccines to all our positions abroad.”
According to sources, most of the employees working from home are working from home, and last week, even fewer employees left for work at the embassy in the Indian capital of New Delhi.
The embassy sent CNN to the State Department for comment.
A State Department spokesman said that “the department has no priority over the safety and security of its employees.”
“We are closely monitoring the situation and we will take all necessary measures to protect the health and well-being of our employees, including vaccines to employees,” he said.
State Department spokesman Ned Price would not confirm the outbreak, claiming that “privacy considerations are limited in what we can say.”
“India is thinking deeply about the outbreak and the whole country is being affected. We obviously have a large diplomatic presence within India, this is important for our deep engagement and partnership with India, but I I am not in this position to speak in any case within our staff or the embassy community, ”Price said in a briefing on Monday.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived on March 19 and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on April 6, meaning that both officials had provided an embassy or consulate to the officers who arrived before the State Department, along with any vaccines Had handled his journey.
Sources said there was some bottleneck around the visits, as at the time of the arrival of the authorities, there were already increasing cases in some parts of India and there was a warning about the increased risk of transmission from the spring holidays. Although the personnel involved in the yatra will already be working in the office, such high-level visits involve individual meetings with Indian officials, while VIPs are on the ground and in the planning phase. While sources said that there were genuine reports of positive Kovid cases in view of the visits, it is unclear whether they were directly related to the visits.
Now, questions are arising about the scheme in case of medical emergency as the healthcare infrastructure in India is in a state of rupture. There are concerns not just for Kovid, but about access to emergency services, as hospitals are full of capacity as well as apprehensions about possible suspension of international flights in the United States.
At the onset of the global coronovirus pandemic, the State Department authorized the departure of “US personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular position in the world who were determined to be at high risk of poor outcome from exposure to COVID.” . ” 19, “and once it was revoked for post around the world, it was released on a country-by-country basis. As of Monday, the State Department had not authorized a departure for personnel from India.
On Monday, the US Consulate in Chennai said in a tweet that, “Keeping in mind the current COVID-19 conditions, all routine services from 26 April to 15 May have been canceled, including all regular non-immigrant visas.” Includes appointments, interview waiver appointments. And regular US Civil Service appointments. “The embassy in New Delhi said on Friday that” in view of the current epidemic situation, the cancellation of in-person visa appointments and interview-apology appointments from 26 April to 9 May Are given. ” On 9 April, the consulate in Mumbai said it would “only provide the necessary consular services until further notice.”
As of now, the United States has not provided coronovirus vaccines to India to help combat the outbreak in the country. on Monday. President Joe Biden spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that “according to the White House readout, the United States and India will work together in the fight against COVID-19.”
The readout stated, “The President promised the US continued support for the people of India affected by the recent upsurge in COVID-19 cases.” “In response, the United States is providing emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials, and therapeutics.”
CNN’s Christian Sierra contributed to this report.