India has joined over two dozen countries in banning inbound travel from the UK, where a mutated strain of novel coronavirus — reportedly 70% more infectious than the one that caused the Covid-19 pandemic — is rapidly spreading.
Which flights have been suspended?
According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the government has decided that all flights originating from the UK to India will be suspended from 11.59 pm December 22 till 11.59 pm on December 31. Consequently, flights from India to the UK will also stand suspended during the period. India and the UK were connected by several airlines including Air India, Vistara, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic connecting London to Indian airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Amritsar. While regular scheduled international flights are still not allowed by authorities here, India and the UK had entered an air bubble arrangement.
What happens to passengers arriving into India on transit flights?
The government has said that as a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from the UK in all transit flights — those that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before 11.59 pm on December 22 — should be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the respective airports.
Which other countries have banned flights from the UK?
Several major European countries, including Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, in addition to countries like Canada, Kuwait, Colombia, Morocco, Iran, Israel and Turkey, have restricted their travel ties with the UK. Saudi Arabia, notably, has suspended all international flights over the fear of the new strain of coronavirus.
In few of these jurisdictions though, only passenger flights have been suspended and cargo flights continue to operate.
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