Headlines December 22, 2020
India suspends UK flights till 31 December
The new Coronavirus strain found in people at the United Kingdom (UK) has caused panic across the world. As UK announced an emergency lockdown on Sunday, India has banned all UK flights till 31 December. The ban begins from today. Till then, passengers who arrive from the country will be tested before leaving airport.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that there is a drastic reduction in number of Coronavirus cases in India now. So any interjection of a SARS-CoV-2 variant virus through passengers with air travel history could pose a threat to India. Hence, suspending flights from UK is inevitable according to the central government.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air India and Vistara operates flights between the two countries. SpiceJet was to start operations end of this month.
The new Coronavirus strain is believed to be 70 percent more infectious. Other countries that have banned UK flights include Saudi Arabia, Canada and some other European nations too. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the new variant is out of control. Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the country is on high alert since the new mutant Coronavirus has started to spread.
Amongst those who had urged to ban UK flights in India was Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Coronavirus cases in India have crossed 1 crore and more than 1 lakh people have lost their lives to the virus.