Govt extends restrictions on flights between India and UK till Feb 14
The government on Wednesday extended the restrictions in flights between India and the United Kingdom till February 14 to control the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
The flight services between the two countries had resumed earlier this months, but with restrictions. The flight services had resumed with limited capacity - 30 flights are operating including 15 each by Indian and UK carriers.
Civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri had tweeted the frequency of flights between India and the UK saying the government will keep reviewing it.
After the rapid spread of the new mutant strain of Covid-19 in the UK, India had put an embargo on flight services between the two countries in December last year. Initially, the ban was till December 31, but was later extended to first week of January.
The flights from India to the UK started on January 6, while operations from the UK to India began on January 8.
After India resumed regular flights to the UK under its air bubble agreement, 70 flights per week have been operated. But the number has been brought down to 30 in the wake of the new Covid-19 strain. The reduced number will stay after civil aviation ministry's order on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Wednesday that the UK variant of the disease has spread to 70 countries.
This comes after recent announcement by a group of researchers that the coronavirus strain sweeping Britain could be more deadly as well as more transmissible. Initially, British experts said that their evidence suggested the new strain circulating in the UK - one of several to have emerged internationally in recent months - was between 50 per cent and 70 per cent more transmissible.
Last week, however, the government said the new variant could also be 30-40 per cent more deadly, although it stressed the assessment relied on sparse data.