India bans all UK flights during Dec 23-31 over new Covid strain

All passengers coming from UK till Tuesday would be tested for the virus after their arrival at airports

flights
It may take at least 2024 for the passenger traffic to return to the 2019 levels | Representative photo: iStock

In view of the emergence of a mutated variant of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, India’s civil aviation ministry on Monday announced the suspension of all flights between the two countries from Wednesday till December 31.

All passengers coming from the UK by flights till Tuesday would be tested for the virus after their arrival at the airports, the ministry further said.

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“Considering the prevailing situation in UK, Govt. of India has decided that all flights originating from UK to India to be suspended till 31st December 2020 (23.59 hours).” the civil aviation ministry said in a tweet.

It added the “suspension will start after 11.59 PM of December 22 and consequently flights from India to the UK shall also stand temporarily suspended during above said period.”

“As a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from UK in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before 22nd Dec at 23.59 hrs) should be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the airports concerned,” it said .

The Union Health Ministry has also called an urgent meeting of its Joint Monitoring Group on Monday to discuss the emergence of the new strain in the UK, which has led to a surge in the infection rate there.

Earlier, several countries had banned flights from the UK, including Canada, Turkey, Italy, Belgium and Israel, besides those in Europe, following the UK government’s warning that the potent new strain of the virus was “out of control”. From Sunday, Britain has also imposed a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown.

Related news | Explained: All we know about UK’s ‘fast-spreading’ COVID virus variant

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