New coronavirus strain: India suspends all UK flights from Wednesday to Dec 31

A number of countries like Canada, Turkey, Belgium, Italy and Israel have banned flights from the UK as the British government warned that the potent new strain of the virus was "out of control" and imposed a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown from Sunday.
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All flights from the UK to India and vice versa will remain suspended from Wednesday to December 31, the Civil Aviation Ministry said on Monday in view of the emergence of a mutated variant of the coronavirus there.

Moreover, the ministry said passengers coming from the UK through flights till Tuesday would be tested for COVID-19 on arrival at the airports "as a measure of abundant precaution".

A number of countries like Canada, Turkey, Belgium, Italy, and Israel have banned flights from the UK as the British government warned that the potent new strain of the virus was "out of control" and imposed a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown from Sunday.

The Civil Aviation Ministry tweeted: "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 will start after 11.59 PM of December 22 and consequently, flights from India to the UK shall also stand temporarily suspended during the above said period, it added.

"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," it mentioned.

The Union Health Ministry has called an urgent meeting of its Joint Monitoring Group on Monday to discuss the emergence of the new strain in the UK, which has led to a surge in the infection rate there.

France had also banned all travel from the UK for 48 hours in an attempt to make sure that a new strain of the coronavirus in Britain doesn't reach its shores, officials said on Sunday.

The ban announced by the prime minister's office came into effect from midnight Sunday the French government reacting to tougher measures imposed in and around London on Saturday.

The French statement clarified that the short 48-hour period would buy authorities time to find a common doctrine on how to deal with the threat. It specified that flows of people or transport to the UK are not affected. 

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

Edited by Kanishk Singh