India: An Air India flight from UK has landed in Delhi with 246 passengers on board amid concerns about a mutant fast-spreading strain of the coronavirus that emerged in Britain.
Flights from UK resumed today after the government suspended services between India and UK on December 23 over the new and more contagious strain of the virus.
Flights from India to UK restarted on Wednesday even as the number of people who have tested positive for the new UK variant has climbed to 73.
According to the government, 30 flights will operate every week – 15 each by Indian and UK carriers. This will stand till 23 January, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri has said.
The Delhi airport has advised passengers to keep a gap of at least 10 hours between their arrival from UK and the connecting flight to their cities.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal 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 UK, I would urge central government to extend the ban till January 31,” Mr Kejriwal tweeted.
“With great difficulty, people have brought COVID situation in control. UK’s COVID situation is very serious. Now, why lift ban and expose our people to risk?” the chief minister said.
In Delhi, 13 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus variant.