India extends suspension of UK flights till January 7 amid worries over new COVID-19 strain

Amid concerns over the new coronavirus strain, the Indian government has decided to extend the suspension of flights between the UK and India till January 7, 2021.

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday said that passenger flights between the UK and India would remain suspended till January 7 and they will resume in a "strictly regulated" manner thereafter.

“Decision has been taken to extend the temporary suspension of flights to and from the UK till January 7, 2021. Thereafter strictly regulated resumption will take place for which details will be announced shortly,” aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.

The Civil Aviation Ministry on December 21 ordered to impose a temporary suspension on flights coming from UK after the emergence of a new and highly infectious strain of the coronavirus in Britain. “Considering the prevailing situation in the UK, the government of India has decided that all flights originating from the UK to India shall be temporarily suspended till December 31, 2020 (11.59pm). This suspension will start from 11.59pm, December 22, 2020,” the ministry had announced.

Meanwhile, India has recorded 14 more cases with the new UK coronavirus mutant strain, taking total number of such cases to 20.

Of the 20 cases, eight have been registered at National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi, 7 at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences in Bangalore, two at Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad. One each has been logged at National Institute of Biomedical Genomics near Kolkata, National Institute of Virology in Pune and CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi.

The British government had recently announced that the newly identified strain of the virus found in their population is up to 70 per cent more transmissible.

It is important to note that the presence of the new UK variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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