India has joined other countries in banning flights
On Monday, December 21, 2020, India announced that it was joining other countries in temporarily suspending air travel from Britain.
This comes after the emergence of a new and more infectious variant of Coronavirus.
The suspension is to come into effect at 6:29 am on December 22, 2020, and will last until December 31.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation tweeted:
“Considering the prevailing situation in the UK, Indian govt has decided that all flights originating from the UK to India shall be temporarily suspended till 11:59 pm, 31st December.”
The ministry also stated that as a precaution, passengers arriving from the UK before December 22 will be subject to a mandatory RT-PCR test upon their arrival at airports.
Citizens have expressed their fears over the new virus strain, which is said to have originated in the UK.
However, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan reassured citizens that the government is aware of the matter and that there is no need to panic.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had shown concerns over the rapid spread of the new variant and had urged the government to ban air travel from the UK immediately.
India has joined other countries in banning flights from the UK.
France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and Bulgaria all announced restrictions on UK travel.
It came just hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced restriction changes over the Christmas period.
He announced a Tier 4 for London and areas in the south of England due to the new Covid-19 variant causing a rapid increase in infections.
Mr Johnson said that the new strain is 70% more transmissible than current strains.
However, he stated “there’s no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness,” or that vaccines will be less effective against it.
Mr Johnson is set to chair an emergency response meeting on Monday to discuss international travel, in particular the flow of freight in and out of Britain.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged the PM to address the UK, saying it is “out of control”.
In a speech on devolution, Sir Keir said:
“The news over the last 24 hours has been deeply disturbing. The number of coronavirus cases has nearly doubled in the last week.”
“Over 67,000 people have now tragically died and hospital admissions are rising. We cannot be in any doubt – the virus is now out of control.”
He called on the government to step up, saying:
“We can have no more over-promising and false hope, confused messages and slow decision-making. We need strong, clear and decisive leadership.
“The Prime Minister needs to be straight with people about precisely what is going on and precisely what he is doing about it.
“He must address the nation today after this morning’s Cobra meeting and hold daily press conferences until the disruption has eased.”