India, on Monday, announced that flights to and from the UK will be halted between 23 December and 31 December amid fears of a new strain of coronavirus. With this, India has joined a list of going countries, including Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, and Italy, that have temporarily suspended the UK flights.
It has further been informed that as a precautionary measure, passengers arriving from the United Kingdom, in all transit flights that have taken off or scheduled to reach India before Wednesday, should mandatorily take an RT-PCR test on arrival in India.
“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). This suspension to start w.e.f. 23.59 hours, 22nd December 2020. Consequently, flights from India to UK shall 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,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, said in a statement on Monday.
Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri, said that those found positive on arrival should be sent for institutional quarantine set up by state/UT govts, in collaboration with the states/UTs concerned. Those found negative should be advised to isolate at home for 7 days & will be medically monitored by the States/UTs.
The new variant of the coronavirus is said to be 70% more infectious and reportedly accounts for a third of the current cases in London. In wake of the development, several European countries temporarily cut their travel ties with the UK. However, it has not yet been established if the new strain causes deaths.