2 min read.Updated: 30 Dec 2020, 03:21 PM IST Written By Anulekha Ray
India suspended all the flight operations in the last week of March to curb the COVID-19 spread
India on Wednesday extended the ban on flights from the United Kingdom till 7 January next year
In the wake of a new strain of coronavirus infection, the civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday extended the suspension of all international flight operations in the country till 31 January, 2021. "Govt of India extends suspension of scheduled commercial international flights till 31 Jan, 2021," said the civil aviation regulator. However, the restrictions will not be applicable on international air cargo operations and flights specially approved by DGCA.
"International scheduled flights may be allowed on select routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis," the DGCA had said.
India suspended all the flight operations in the last week of March to curb the COVID-19 spread. After a gap of two months, the domestic flight operations resumed on 25 May following the stringent measures.
To bring back the stranded Indians from across the world, the Central government started Vande Bharat Mission on 6 May. Air India and several other private domestic airlines IndiGo and SpiceJet have been operating flights under Vande Bharat Mission since then. Over 3.9 million have returned to India from different countries under the mission, the civil aviation minister said. "Now in Phase-7, the mission with 23 active air bubbles has transformed into the largest repatriation mission of its kind," Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri earlier said.
India on Wednesday extended the ban on flights from the United Kingdom till 7 January next year. The decision came after 20 people had tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant. Hardeep Singh Puri said, "Decision has been taken to extend the temporary suspension of flights to & from the UK till 7 January 2021." "Thereafter strictly regulated resumption will take place for which details will be announced shortly," Puri wrote on Twitter. The presence of the new UK variant of the virus has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore. More than 30 countries have suspended air links with Britain over the new strain.
The authorities were trying to track down tens of thousands of people who entered the country from Britain in recent weeks as cases of a new and fast-spreading coronavirus strain more than doubled in 24 hours. "Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others," the health ministry said Tuesday.
With more than 10 million infections and 145,000 deaths, India recorded the world's second highest coronavirus caseload behind the United States,.