New Delhi: Nearly a week after the government suspended the flights to and from the United Kingdom amid concerns over the new coronavirus strain, the two countries resumed normal flight operation from Friday.
According to reports, the first flight carrying 256 passengers arrived in the national capital from London today. The resumption of the normal flight operations comes nearly a week after the government suspended services between India and UK on December 23 over the new and more contagious strain of the virus.
The flight operations between India and the United Kingdom resumed today after a week of suspension due to new Covid strain. The first flight carrying 256 passengers arrived in Delhi today from London.
— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2021
According to an announcement by the Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Puri, 30 flights will operate every week – 15 each by Indian and UK carriers. This will stand till 23 January, as per the announcement made by the Minister.
Meanwhile, the authorities at the Delhi airport have advised passengers to keep a gap of at least 10 hours between their arrival from the UK and the connecting flight to their cities. It may be recalled that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Thursday urged the Centre to extend the flights ban till January 31 because of the “extremely serious” COVID situation in the UK.
“The Centre has decided to lift the ban and start UK flights. In view of the extremely serious situation in the UK, I would urge the central government to extend the ban till January 31,” Kejriwal tweeted.
“With great difficulty, people have brought the COVID-19 situation in control. UK’s COVID situation is very serious. Now, why we should lift the ban and expose our people to risk?” the Chief Minister said.
In Delhi, 13 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus variant. The Civil Aviation Minister had tweeted that further frequency of flights would be determined after review.
All passengers from the UK arriving between January 8 and January 30 will be subjected to self-paid COVID-19 tests on arrival. Passengers are also required to carry COVID-19 negative reports from a test done 72 hours before their journey and quarantine for 14 days even if they test negative on arrival, according to the government’s new SOP.