India on 21st December, Monday had announced and suspended all scheduled all the passenger flights which go to and from the UK. This suspension of the UK flights will be between December 23 and 31. India is one among many who are joining dozens of countries that have made and implemented limited or comprehensive travel bans to keep out the new coronavirus strain which is spreading fast across Britain.
H S Puri who is the Civil aviation minister said that the travellers who are coming from the UK and who are landing at any Indian airport before the flight ban kicks in at the midnight on Tuesday will have to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR tests. It is based on which institutional quarantine for a minimum of 14 days or monitored home isolation atleast for a week is also advised.
Maharashtra also went a step further looking at the condition getting severe and even they had imposed a 11pm to 6am night curfew. This curfew will be within the municipal corporation limits across the state from 22nd December , Tuesday till 5th January. Only the emergency services like transportation and the supply of milk and vegetables will be allowed during this curfew. Christmas and New Year celebrations or the parties and large gatherings has to wind up at by 11pm when the curfew starts. People in Maharashtra have been told to reach home before 11pm and also that they need not to step out till 6am.
Karnataka has made the Covid tests compulsory for passengers who are arriving from Denmark and the Netherlands. The state Health department said that every person who has a history of travel from the UK since 7th December will be tested.
In a circular to all airlines that was given out by the aviation regulator DGCA asked them to strictly adhere to the arrival deadline of 11.59pm on Tuesday for flights from the UK. Air India and also Vistara have advanced their departures of Tuesday from Mumbai and Delhi by five and 10 hours each respectively, so that these flights can return ahead of the shutdown. Airlines that are operating between India and the other countries are prevented from allowing any flyer arriving from the UK to board another flight “either directly or indirectly”, the DGCA said.
A senior official said that they are mainly seeing traffic to India on these flights, and not so much on the UK-bound ones. The flyers are mostly the native of India residing over there and also the Indian students coming home for the holidays.
The decision to suspend flights was taken after Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to P S Kharola on 21st December, Monday about the new coronavirus strain that is happening in the UK. India has been observing a decline in the number of the Covid cases for over the past 2 and half months till now, that is accompanied by a decline in the number of deaths. In this scenario, any new virus strain through the passengers with air travel history could pose a risk to pandemic management over there.
The joint monitoring group which is headed by the director general of health services recommended for the suspension of the flights that goes to and from the UK, besides the RT-PCR testing which is compulsory for those arriving from there.
Scott Morrison who is the Australian PM said that he was confident for the existing 14-day quarantine rules for arrivals and that were sufficient to handle the threat.
The rapid response by most countries prevent the travel around the world just as families were preparing to unite for the Christmas. One British traveller said that please help them to leave who was one among dozens stranded overnight in German airports.