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India: RT-PCR test must for flyers from UK, govt says Covid-positive cases to undergo institutional quarantine

Passengers from international flights (REUTERS)Premium
Passengers from international flights (REUTERS)

  • 7-day isolation advisable for passengers from UK who test in RT-PCR and they will be medically monitored by the States/UTs, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said
  • India temporarily banned all flights from UK amid fears of new Covid-19 strain in UK till Dec-end

Amid fears of new and highly infectious coronavirus strain in the UK, the Indian government on Monday temporarily banned all flights originating from Britain from tomorrow midnight till December-end.

"We have decided to take all necessary precautions as a result of the situation arising out of the spread of a new strain of coronavirus in some countries. All flights originating from U.K into India will be suspended temporarily from 22 Dec to 31 Dec 2020," Civial Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation also ordered that in view of taking stringent precautions, the passengers arriving in the country from UK in all transit flights before 22 December, will have to mandatorily undergo RT-PCR test for Covid-19 on arrival.

"As a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from UK in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before 22nd Dec at 23.59 hrs) should be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the airports concerned," the ministry said in a statement.

In a series of tweets by Puri, the minster informed that said that any interjection of COVID variant virus via passengers with air travel history could pose critical risks. 7-day isolation advisable for passengers from UK who test in RT-PCR and they will be medically monitored by the States/UTs.

"Those found positive on arrival should be sent for institutional quarantine set up by state/UT govts, in collaboration with the states/UTs concerned," Puri said in a tweet.

Earlier today, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan assured the citizens over the fears of the new strain of coronavirus in UK. He said that the government is alert and there is no need to panic.

Moreover, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had shown concerns over the rapid spread of the new variant of the virus in Britain and had urged the Centre to ban all flights from the UK immediately.

Countries around the world have begun banning flights and travellers from Britain as London said Sunday the spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain was now "out of control".

France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and Bulgaria all announced restrictions on UK travel, hours after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Christmas shopping and gatherings in southern England must be cancelled because of rapidly spreading infections blamed on the new coronavirus variant.

Johnson said Saturday that a fast-moving new variant of the virus that is 70 per cent more transmissible than existing strains appeared to be driving the rapid spread of new infections in London and southern England in recent weeks. But he stressed "there's no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness," or that vaccines will be less effective against it.

Johnson will chair an emergency response meeting on Monday to discuss international travel, in particular the flow of freight in and out of Britain. EU officials are due to hold a meeting at 1000 GMT on coordinating their response.

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