Flights from UK resume today amid scare about new coronavirus strain

Published on Jan 08, 2021 02:32 PM IST

The ban on flights to the UK was lifted on January 6. 30 flights will operate each week - 15 each by Indian and UK carriers. This schedule will continue till January 23, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had informed earlier.

Passengers wearing protective face masks leave upon arrival at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport after India cancelled all flights from the UK over fears of a new strain of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Mumbai.(REUTERS)
Passengers wearing protective face masks leave upon arrival at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport after India cancelled all flights from the UK over fears of a new strain of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Mumbai.(REUTERS)
New Delhi | ByAsian News International | Posted by Arpan Rai

Flights from the United Kingdom resumed today in a limited capacity amid concerns about the new strain of the coronavirus that was recently detected in the UK.

The first flight carrying 256 passengers arrived in Delhi today from London, airport officials informed.

The ban on flights to the UK was lifted on January 6. 30 flights will operate each week - 15 each by Indian and UK carriers. This schedule will continue till January 23, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had informed earlier.

Passengers will have to take an RT-PCR test up to 72 hours before a flight and on arrival.

Meanwhile, leaders, including Rajasthan and Delhi Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot and Arvind Kejriwal, hit out at the Centre for partially lifting the ban and urged authorities to extend the ban.

“Cases of the new corona strain from Britain are increasing in India. The government of India should reconsider the decision to resuming flights from Britain after January 7,” the Rajasthan CM said.

Kejriwal asked why the ban had been lifted and urged for it to be extended till January 31.

“With great difficulty, people have brought the COVID situation in control. UK’s COVID situation is very serious. Now, why lift the ban and expose our people to risk? Centre has decided to lift the ban and start UK flights. In view of the extremely serious COVID situation in the UK, I would urge the central government to extend the ban till January 31,” he wrote.

The total number of people who tested positive for the new UK strain of the Coronavirus in India reached 75 on Thursday, the special surveillance report issued by the central government said.

As per the report, a total of 4,858 people have been traced who traveled between India and the UK after the cases of infection by new variant came to light.

“A total 1,211 travellers from the UK have completed 28 days from their arrival in India. out of 75 people infected with UK variant of Covid-19, 33 were found in Mumbai, 14 in Pune, eight in Thane, nine in Nagpur, two each in Nashik, Aurangabad, Raigad and Buldhana, and one each in Osmanabad, Nanded and Washim,” the report said.

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