The Aviation Ministry Monday announced suspensions of all flight from United Kingdom (UK) to India from December 23 to December 31. The step has been taken amid concerns over the emergence of a new coronavirus strain in the UK.
“Considering the prevailing situation in UK. Govt. of India has decided that all flights originating from the UK to India to be suspended till December 31, 2020 (23.59 hours). This suspension to start w.e.f. 23:59 hours, December 22, 2020. Consequently, flights from India to the UK shall stand temporarily suspended during the above said period,” the ministry said in a tweet.
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).
— MoCA_GoI (@MoCA_GoI) December 21, 2020
As a precautionary measure, the government has announced that all passengers arriving from the UK in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before Dec 22 at 23:59 hrs) will be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the airports concerned.
The variant has triggered concern and prompted several countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy to stop incoming flights from the UK.
Earlier today, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said the government was on alert about the new strain of coronavirus and urged people not to panic.
“As of now, there is no need to get involved with these imaginary situations, imaginary panic. The Centre is alert and there is no need to panic about it,” Vardhan said, speaking at the curtain-raiser for the 6th India International Science Festival-2020 (IISF 2020). “The government is fully conscious of everything. If you ask me, there is no reason to panic the way we are seeing in this press conference,” the minister said, adding that the government had done everything that was important to handle the COVID-19 situation in the last one year.
The Health Ministry’s top advisory body is also expected to meet today to discuss the new strain of the virus, and the future course of action. Sources told The Indian Express experts from AIIMS and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), along with a representative from the World Health Organisation (WHO), would attend the meeting.
Meanwhile, the British government has warned that the potent new strain of the virus was “out of control” and have imposed a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown in the country from Sunday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week said a fast-moving new variant of the virus that is 70 per cent more transmissible than existing strains appeared to be driving the rapid spread of new infections in London and southern England in recent weeks.
Italy also announced it had detected one patient infected with the new strain of the coronavirus. The patient and his partner had returned to the country from the UK.
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