Updated: April 30, 2021 8:31:46 am
At least 10 countries have taken a cautionary view on India and have either restricted or advised against travel to or from India on account of a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases, with more likely to follow.
Countries that have announced restrictions include Canada, the UAE, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Oman, Hong Kong, France, the US and the United Kingdom.
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Why are these countries trying to keep Indian travellers at a distance?
Most of these countries have cited the rising number of coronavirus cases in India as the reason behind their decision. Some, like the UK and Hong Kong, have even expressed concern at the risk of importing the mutant variant of coronavirus from India behind restricting their borders. According to information from the Ministry of Health and Family welfare, as of Friday 8 am, there were 24,28,616 active Covid-19 cases in the country, an increase of 1,37,188 over the previous day.
What happens if you were booked to travel to one of these countries from India?
It is to be noted that these jurisdictions have imposed a ban on travel with a grace period. For example, flights to UAE will be suspended effective Saturday, April 24 – 23:59 local time Dubai. If a passenger is booked to travel to destinations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, etc after that date, they should reach out to their airlines, which would be Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai, Air Arabia or Indian carriers like IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air India and Air India Express.
AI Express, in an advisory Thursday, said passengers “booked to fly with us during this period will be able to reschedule their tickets once the restrictions are lifted”. Currently, the UAE restrictions are in place for 10 days, following which there will be a review. Similarly, Singapore’s ban is also effective Friday 11.59 pm local time, Oman’s restrictions begin from Saturday 6 pm local time, and Canada’s ban started late Thursday local time.
What happens if you are booked to travel to India from one of these countries?
Given that the restrictions have been imposed on outbound travel from India, and there is no binding prohibition on travelling to India, it is expected that most of the airlines will continue to operate flights from these countries to India.
However, a senior executive of a Dubai-based airline said that whether they operate flights to India will be a commercial decision and that if passenger loads are not enough on UAE-India leg, they might cancel these flights.
Additionally, the Associated Press reported Canada was “banning all flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days”, with the exception of cargo flights. On the other hand, the US CDC has issued an advisory asking people to avoid travel to India even if fully vaccinated.
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