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Opinion

India to lift UK flight ban on Jan 8 and allow partial flight operations

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India will allow the resumption of flights to and from the UK from January 8, but with restrictions that include limiting flight operations to 15 weekly flights per country until January 23, the civil aviation minister of India said on Friday. the Union, Hardeep Puri.

The government has put a limit of 30 weekly flights between the countries with 15 flights each allowed for the airlines of the two countries.

“It has been decided that flights between India and the UK will resume from January 8, 2021. Operations until January 23 will be restricted to 15 flights per week each for the airlines of the two countries to and from Delhi. , Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad only. The DGCA will publish the details shortly, ”Puri said on Twitter.

The restrictions on flights between the two countries may be extended further until Jan. 31, according to officials familiar with the development. “Passengers arriving on these flights from January 8 onwards will be required to undergo mandatory RT PCR tests upon arrival and those who test negative will have to sign mandatory home quarantine commitments for one week. We are reviewing the status, we assume that the restrictions on flights to the UK may be extended further until the end of the month, “said a senior official who requested anonymity.

On December 21, India joined a growing list of countries on Monday to seal off access to people who have been to the UK, suspending all flights to and from the country between December 23 and December 31. and then extending the ban until Jan.7 in to curb the arrival of a new strain of the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus that is feared to spread faster.

India’s air bubble deal with the UK covered at least 70 flights per week, according to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The airlines that served these routes were Air India, British Airways, Vistara and Virgin Atlantic.

India has been operating international flights through bilateral transport bubbles with 24 countries including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria , Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom (United Kingdom), United States of America (USA) Since they suspended operations of scheduled flights abroad when they announced the closure in March.

Speaking at a press conference last Tuesday, Puri had said: “I anticipate a slight extension of the temporary suspension. I don’t expect that extension to be long or indefinite. In the next day or two, we will find out if additional action is necessary or when we can begin to ease the current temporary suspension. “

He added that as of November 25, the government had begun to track contacts of passengers who had come directly or indirectly from the UK.

So far, 29 cases of people in India have tested positive for the new, highly infectious strain of coronavirus, including four cases that were detected on Friday.

The Nextstrain genome sequencing repository showed that the variant found in the UK was also circulating in Denmark, and similar mutations, albeit in a different strain, were seen in some samples from South Africa. The Civil Aviation minister had also said in December that the Center could decide to impose similar restrictions on other countries if a large number of cases are found with the Sars-Cov-2 mutation.

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