India has banned all flights from the United Kingdom till 31 December. The decision was made over fears around a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus in the UK. This suspension starts from the midnight of 22 December, practically 23 December. Passengers on flights that are already in transit and will arrive in India before 22 December will be subjected to an RT-PCR test to check for COVID-19 on arrival.
Ban on flights between India and UK
“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),” India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has announced. “This suspension to start w.e.f. 23.59 hours, 22nd December 2020. Consequently, flights from India to UK shall stand temporarily suspended during above said period.”
On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced that a new strain of the coronavirus had led to a spike in COVID-19 infections in London and nearby areas. Calling the situation “out of control”, his government tightened restrictions in the region.
With this, India joins a growing list of countries that have banned flights to and from the UK over the past 48 hours. These include Germany, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Chile, Morocco, Kuwait, Israel and El Salvador.
Also on the radar is South Africa, which is also reporting a highly virulent strain of the COVID-19 virus. Turkish Airlines has suspended all flights to South Africa (and the Netherlands and Denmark) for now. Germany also announced a ban on flights to South Africa on Sunday.