New Covid strain: India's ban on UK flights likely to be extended

New Delhi - Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri says 'slight extension' on ban likely.

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(Reuters file photo used for illustrative purpose)
(Reuters file photo used for illustrative purpose)

By Reuters

Published: Tue 29 Dec 2020, 3:14 PM

Last updated: Tue 29 Dec 2020, 3:20 PM

India's ban on flights from Britain would probably remain in force into the New Year, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said.

“I foresee a slight extension,” Puri told reporters. “I don’t expect that extension to be a long or indefinite extension.”

India has found six cases of a more infectious strain of the coronavirus in people arriving from Britain.

All six of the infected people had been kept in isolation, the health ministry said in a statement, adding that their fellow travellers were being traced.

“Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine,” the ministry said.

India had suspended all flights from Britain until the end of the month over worry about the infectious variant of the virus, but about 33,000 passengers had flown in from late November, before the ban was enforced, the ministry said.

Of those arrivals, 114 people were found positive for the coronavirus and their samples were being checked for the new variant, which has been detected across parts of Europe and Asia, it said.

Health authorities expect to start a vaccination drive for some 300 million people early next month, with the Serum Institute of India, which is making the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus shot, expecting its emergency approval within days.

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