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Flights between India and the UK will resume from 8 January, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday. The government had last week extended the suspension of flights to and from the UK from 31 December till 7 January to prevent the spread of a new strain of the coronavirus found in the UK, considered to be much more infectious.

This came in the wake of people arriving from the UK being found to infected with the new strain.

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However, operations will be restricted and such flights will only operate to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

“It has been decided that flights between India and UK will resume from 8 January 2021. Operations till 23 January will be restricted to 15 flights per week each for carriers of the two countries to & from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad only. @DGCAIndia (Directorate General of Civil aviation) will issue the details shortly," Puri said on Twitter.

Prior to that airlines such as Air India, Virgin Atlantic, British Airway, and Vistara operated several weekly flights between the countries from Indian cities such as Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Amritsar, apart from Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.

Normal international scheduled commercial flights to and from all other countries stand suspended at least till 31 January to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

However, all cargo international flights and ones under bilateral air bubble pacts are allowed to operate. A bilateral air bubble is a mechanism to operate flights between India and other nations with preconditions during the pandemic.

India has bilateral air bubble pacts with 23 countries. These include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ukraine, the UAE, and the US.

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