India-UK travel resumes: Amid fear over new COVID-19 strain, Air India flight with 256 passengers lands in Delhi

Amid fear over the new COVID-19 strain, an Air India flight from the United Kingdom with 256 passengers on board landed in Delhi on Friday. The 256 passengers travelled to Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport from London's Heathrow Airport via an Air India flight on Friday morning.

The flights from the UK resumed today after the government suspended services between India and UK on December 23 over the new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus that emerged in the UK.

Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said on January 2 that flights from India to the UK will resume from January 6, while services from that country to here would resume from January 8 onwards.

Puri had tweeted, "30 flights will operate every week. 15 each by Indian & UK carriers. This schedule is valid till 23 Jan 2021. Further frequency will be determined after review".

According to the standard operating procedures issued by the health ministry, all passengers coming from the UK between January 8 and January 30 would be subjected to self-paid COVID-19 tests on arrival.

Moreover, each passenger arriving from the UK would have to bring his or her COVID-19 negative report from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey, it said.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday urged the Centre to extend the ban on flights between India and the UK till January 31 in view of the "extremely serious" COVID situation in that country.

"The Centre has decided to lift the ban and start UK flights. In view of the extremely serious situation in UK, I would urge central government to extend the ban till January 31," Kejriwal said on Twitter.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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