The Centre on Monday announced a suspension of all flights originating from the United Kingdom to India until the end of the year, the aviation ministry said in a tweet.
A number of European nations among others have shut off travel ties to the UK after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that a highly infectious new strain of the coronavirus was a danger to the country.
The ban will come into effect on Tuesday night and all passengers arriving from the UK before then will be tested on arrival at airports, the ministry said. All the passengers arriving from the UK in flights that will land in India by 11.59 PM on Tuesday will undergo mandatory RT-PCR test at airports.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation tweeted, "Considering the prevailing situation in UK. Govt. of India has decided that all flights originating from the UK to India to be suspended till 31st December 2020 (23.59 hours)."
We have decided to take all necessary precautions as a result of the situation arising out of the spread of a new strain of coronavirus in some countries. All flights originating from U.K into India will be suspended temporarily from 22 Dec to 31 Dec 2020. @PMOIndia @HMOIndia https://t.co/Pn6mxKL1zM
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) December 21, 2020
It further tweeted, "This suspension to start w.e.f. 23.59 hours, 22nd December 2020. Consequently, flights from India to the UK shall stand temporarily suspended during the above said period."
This suspension to start w.e.f. 23.59 hours, 22nd December 2020. Consequently flights from India to UK shall stand temporarily suspended during above said period.
— MoCA_GoI (@MoCA_GoI) December 21, 2020
"As a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from the UK in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before 22nd Dec at 23.59 hrs) should be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the airports concerned," it also said.
A number of countries like Canada, Turkey, Belgium, Italy and Israel have banned flights from the UK as the British government warned that the potent new strain of the virus was "out of control" and imposed a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown from December 20 (Sunday).
The Union Health Ministry has called an urgent meeting of its Joint Monitoring Group on Monday to discuss the emergence of the new strain in the UK, which has led to a surge in the infection rate there.