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NEW DELHI: The Indian government has extended the ban on international commercial flights till 30 June, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a circular on Friday. The ban on scheduled overseas flights was to end on 31 May after a 14-month gap.

Dedicated cargo flights, flights under the bilateral air bubble pacts with select countries will continue to operate, the civil aviation watchdog said.

A bilateral air bubble is a mechanism to resume flights between India and other nations with preconditions amid the pandemic.

India currently has bilateral air bubble agreement with about 28 countries, which include countries such as Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, the Maldives, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Ukraine, the UAE, the UK, Uzbekistan and the US.

However, several countries have banned or imposed restrictions on flights from and to India due to the recent surge in covid-19 infections in the country.

Countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kuwait, New Zealand, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and UAE had earlier in April banned travel to and from India due to the rising number of infections as a result of the second wave of covid-19 in the country.

However, some of these countries have since then lifted such travel restrictions to and from India.

About 186,364 more people tested positive for covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking cumulative cases to 27,555,457, according to government data. As a result, the active tally in India is inching towards the 24-lakh mark as it stands at 23,43,152.

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