‘Why expose our people to risks?’ Kejriwal urges Center to extend UK flight ban
Amid concerns about the new mutant strain of the SARS-Cov-2 virus in India, Delhi Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Center on Thursday to consider extending the ban on flights to the UK. The Center partially lifted the ban and resumed flights from India to the UK from January 6. The first UK flight will arrive in India on January 8. The Civil Aviation Ministry has revised the number of flights allowed to operate between India and the United Kingdom and brought the number down to 30, from 70 to 23 January. The Union Ministry of Health has also published a detailed guide for passengers arriving in India from the UK. However, the Delhi CM took to Twitter and urged the Center not to lift the ban until January 31.
After a new, possibly more contagious strain of coronavirus was detected in the UK in December, several countries imposed a ban on flights from the UK. India also announced on December 21 an embargo on flights from the United Kingdom that took effect from December 23 to 31. Subsequently, it was extended until January 7.
The civil aviation ministry clarified that while flights from the United Kingdom will be able to enter the country from January 8, India could start its flights to the United Kingdom from January 6. Two Air India flights were scheduled on January 6, after a gap of nearly a fortnight.
The Covid-19 situation in the UK is extremely dire, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted when urging the Center to reconsider lifting restrictions. “With great difficulty, people have managed to control the Covid-19 situation. The COVID situation in the UK is very serious. Now why lift the ban and expose our people to risk? Kejriwal tweeted. As UK flights are primarily destined for Delhi and Mumbai, the cities’ case load could be affected by the resumption of flights.
The UK recorded 1,041 deaths on Wednesday, the highest since the peak of the pandemic since April last year. The number of people who tested positive for the new variant of the UK virus in India reached 73, according to the Health Ministry on Wednesday.