India suspends UK flights till December 31
With the end of 2020, devastating news has come for students and travellers planning to visit the UK.
India suspends all Flights until 31st December 2020 to the UK
The Civil Aviation Ministry on Sunday decided this ban of flights to and from the UK.
The decision to suspend all Flights to the UK was taken based on a recommendation by the Health Ministry.
There is the latest outrage of the new strain of the novel coronavirus, which is constantly growing and spreading rapidly in the UK.
“India on Monday announced it was suspending flights from and to that country until the end of the year.”
Flights to the UK are operated by Air India and British Airways, and private carriers Virgin Atlantic and Vistara.
Several airlines operate chartered flights as well between India and the UK.
The effect of the suspension will be between December 22 (11:59 pm) till December 31 (11:59 pm).
21 flights are operating every week on the London-Delhi sector.
12 flights every week operate between Mumbai and London.
Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmadabad, Kochi, Goa, and Amritsar are also connected to London.
Weekly flight operating from India to the UK
60 flights will be cancelled that operate between India and UK in this period.
Cargo and special permission aircraft are not affected by this decision.
Many airlines have advanced their departures keeping in mind the ban, that India has suspended all Flights until 31st December 2020 to the UK. Thus, they shifted all their departures before Monday (December 21) so that their loss is limited.
The key decision-makers were – the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) that is headed by the Director-General of Health Services, and the Vaccine Task Force that is led by the Principal Scientific Advisor and Member (Health), NITI Aayog – based on their input this decision has come into effect.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri posted on Twitter, “We have decided to take all necessary precautions as a result of the situation arising out of the spread of a new strain of corona virus in some countries.
All flights originating from the UK into India will be suspended temporarily from 22 Dec to 31 Dec 2020. ”Consequently, flights from India to the UK are also suspended during this period.”
It has come into notice that a new phylogenetic cluster of SARS-CoV-2 (named lineage B.1.1.7) has been detected growing rapidly in the UK.
The top features of this variant show a large number of genetic changes, particularly in the spike protein.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to his counterpart in the Ministry of Civil Aviation that, this development calls for detailed epidemiological surveillance, along with regressive containment and other measures to be implemented effectively to tackle this scenario.
He further added in his report that the decision that India has suspended all Flights until 31st December 2020 to the UK, “as a measure of extreme caution passengers arriving from UK in all intentional flights should be subjected to mandatory RTPCR tests on arrival at the airports concerned” to ensure the safety of Indians.
India is practising safe and effective precautionary measures to curb Covid-19 and that has resulted in a decline in fresh cases.
He mentioned, “In this scenario, any interjection of a SARS-CoV-2 variant virus through passengers with air travel history could pose critical risks for pandemic management in India.”
An expert from the advisory of the aviation minister H S Puri reads,
“Those found positive on arrival (will) be sent for institutional quarantine set up by state/union territory governments in collaboration with the states/UTs concerned.
Those found negative should be advised to isolate at home for 7 days and will be medically monitored by the states/UTs.”
Adequate arrangements are made for passengers waiting for their RTPCR test results at the airports.
Countries like Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Kuwait, Iran, Israel, and Hong Kong have also joined India’s decision to ban flights from the UK as a preventive measure to save their nationals.
Public Health England (PHE) said on Sunday that data from whole-genome sequencing, epidemiology, and modelling “suggest” the new variant, ‘VUI – 202012/01’ (variant under investigation) “transmits more easily than other strains”.
“We know that mortality is a lagging indicator and we will need to continually monitor this over the coming weeks,” PHE said.
The PHE also said that it does not yet know the “mechanism for this increase in transmission”.