India-UK flights suspended as Britain reports new coronavirus variant
India has decided to temporarily suspend all flights to and from the United Kingdom until December 31, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced on Monday. The decision has been taken in light of the emergence of a new strain of the coronavirus in the European country, which UK authorities say is as much as 70% more infectious. Here are more details.
The Ministry said, "Considering the prevailing situation in the UK, the government of India has decided that all flights originating from the 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 the UK shall stand temporarily suspended during the above said period," it added.
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
The Ministry added, "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." They will also be quarantined for seven days.
The UK has reported a mutated and "more infectious" strain of the coronavirus. Citing rising infections in and around London, the UK has imposed the most stringent lockdown since March. Italy-UK air travel has been suspended. Meanwhile, other countries such as Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, etc., are considering restricting air travel. Spain has urged the European Union for a coordinated response to banning flights.
Earlier, the government had said it is assessing the situation in the UK—one of the 23 countries that India had established a bilateral air bubble with. An advisory body of the Health Ministry had held a meeting earlier Monday, where experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Council of Medical Research, and a representative from the World Health Organization were present.