India suspends flights to the United Kingdom until December 31 for a new variant of Covid-19
The Center issued an order on Monday to suspend all flights to and from the UK between December 23 and December 31, joining a number of countries that are also doing so following the discovery of a new variant of the Sars-CoV- 2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease (Covid-19), which is believed to spread faster than its previous strains.
The Civil Aviation Ministry also noted on Monday that passengers on all transit flights arriving from the UK scheduled to arrive in India by December 22 will be subject to mandatory RT-PCR testing upon arrival.
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“Taking into account the prevailing situation in the UK, the Government of India has decided that all UK-origin flights to India will be temporarily suspended until December 31, 2020 (11:59 pm). This suspension will begin at 11:59 pm on December 22, 2020, ”the ministry announced.
“As a precautionary measure, passengers arriving from the UK on all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights that arrive in India before December 22) should be subject to a mandatory RT-PCR test upon arrival at the airports in question, “he added. .
The Union’s civil aviation minister, Hardeep Puri, said that passengers who test positive will be sent to institutional quarantine.
“Those who are found positive upon arrival should be sent to an institutional quarantine established by the state / UT governments, in collaboration with the interested states / UT. Those who test negative should be advised to isolate themselves at home for 7 days and will be medically monitored by states / UT, ”he tweeted.
The decision was made amid concerns over a new strain of the coronavirus feared to be more contagious, forcing at least five countries to ban travel from the UK on Sunday, with several others considering similar restrictions.
The new variant of the coronavirus has prompted the UK government to impose a level 4 lockdown across the country and tighten restrictions in England, especially during festival season.
India’s announcement on Monday came after a meeting called by the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) chaired by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) to assess the threat of the new variant.
The government can review the suspension period after December.
“We have imposed a 10-day suspension on flights to and from the UK after a thorough review by the government. We will reevaluate the suspension period according to the situation that prevails in the country later on, ”said an official from the Ministry of Aviation.
The event came days after London confirmed that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had accepted India’s invitation to be the main guest at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26. The travel restrictions also compound the problems for the UK as it is finally ready to go. the European Union on December 31.
India has been operating international flights through established transport bubbles with 23 countries, including the UK so far, and the Vande Bharat Mission since May, while regular operations have been suspended since March.