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Home >News >India >Amid new Covid-19 strain scare, Air India flight with 256 passengers from UK lands in Delhi

Flights between Britain and India, which have been suspended since the last week of December amid the new coronavirus strain concerns, resumed on Friday, with 256 passengers from the United Kingdom who landed in Delhi.

The 256 passengers in an Air India flight from the UK travelled to the national capital's Indira Gandhi International Airport from London's Heathrow Airport on Friday.

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Flights from the UK resumed today after the Indian government had suspended services between both the countries on 23 December over the new and a fast-spreading strain of SARS-CoV-2.

Flights from India to the UK restarted on 6 January even as the number of people who have tested positive for the new UK virus has climbed to 73.

"The total number of cases infected with the new strain of the novel coronavirus first reported in the UK now stands at 73," the health ministry has said.

Number of flights to operate every week

As per the Central Government, 30 flights will operate every week - 15 each by the Indian and the UK carriers. This will stand till January 23, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri has stated.

The Delhi airport has also asked the UK returnees to keep a gap of about 10 hours between their arrival from Britain and the connecting flight to other cities.

On Thursday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged the government to extend the flights ban till 31 January because of the "extremely serious" coronavirus situation in the UK.

Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal wrote, "The Centre has decided to lift the ban and start UK flights. In view of the extremely serious situation in UK, I would urge central government to extend the ban till January 31."

"With great difficulty, people have brought COVID situation in control. UK's COVID situation is very serious. Now, why lift ban and expose our people to risk?" the Delhi CM asked.

More than 40 nations had put travel restrictions to and from Britain, owing to a new mutant strain of coronavirus that emerged in Britain in December last year. The UK government had said that the new Covid-19 strain is 70% more transmittable.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) scientists had said: "There is no evidence to show that the mutant virus is deadlier". "There's zero evidence that there's any increase in severity of Covid-19 from the latest strain," WHO's emergencies chief Dr Michael Ryan had said amid the worries over the new UK virus strain.

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