Over the weekend, the UK government announced a very stringent lockdown in London and some other parts of England given the rapid spread of a new strain of the CoronaVirus in the UK. Subsequently, the Netherlands became the first country to implement a ban on flights originating from the UK. A lot of other countries have joined in the ban, hoping that they will be able to cut away the transmission of the new strain, which perhaps has been in circulation since September, if not earlier.
India has just made their move as well. As per the Indian regulator, in a series of tweets,
Considering the prevailing situation in UK. Govt. of India has decided that all flights originating from UK to India to be suspended till 31st December 2020 (23.59 hours). This suspension to start w.e.f. 23.59 hours, 22nd December 2020. Consequently, flights from India to the UK shall stand temporarily suspended during the above said period. As a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from the 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.
Vistara, Air India, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are the operators on the India – UK sectors. The consequence of this move will be that within the next 32 hours or so, the flights between India and the UK would return to their origin. In this case, the government of India has also banned the operation of flights from India to the UK, in case any airline was going to operate a one-way empty flight. India and the UK have an “Air Bubble” agreement which allows for flying of various categories of passengers between both the countries.
Vistara has moved up its flight to London by ten hours to make it back in time to India before the ban starts.
— Vistara (@airvistara) December 21, 2020
Update: The UK to India transfer via a third country will also not be allowed to travel as per the detailed circular issued by Indian regulators.
This ban has been extended till January 7, 2021, after 6 people who were contact traced after arriving from the UK were found to have an infection with the new mutation.
Update 2: RT PCR Testing for everyone arriving from the UK till 23:59 Hours on December 22, 2020. Positive cases to be sent to institutional quarantine, negative cases will be isolated at home for seven days with monitoring by the agencies.
The reason this move was expected was that the last time around, India took too long to close down international flights, and hence too many virus carriers perhaps streamed through into the country.
What do you think of the latest move of India to ban UK Flights?
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India Bans UK Flights India Bans UK Flights