The Central government on Monday suspended all commercial and passenger flights with the United Kingdom following the rapid increase in the number of Corona cases in the country. Though India has not detected the new strain of the pandemic which is spreading in the UK, the curb in the flight services is meant as an exercise in precaution. As a result of the new strain, the Christmas celebrations have been hit hard in the UK, which is due in a few days.
Besides India, more than forty countries have suspended flights with Britain.
The aviation ministry, following a joint meeting on the pandemic on Monday, said: “Considering the prevailing situation in UK, the government of India has decided that all flights originating from UK to India to be suspended till 31st December.”
It is feared that the new strain which is spreading in the UK, is more infectious and over 70 per cent more communicable. But the mortality rate of the new strain is not expected to be high.
However, Indian health minister Dr. Harshvardhan has downplayed its impact and said that there is no need to panic. Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, said: “It is just a precautionary measure. This strain has not been found in India.”
Currently, under the air-bubble arrangement with the United Kingdom, four airlines operate 67 flights per week and connect different Indian cities with London. The four airlines are British Airways (29), Air India (23), Virgin Atlantic (8) and Vistara (7).
It needs to be mentioned that the mutant virus which is behind the recent strain was first detected in south-east England in September and later spread to London and other parts of the UK.