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India temporarily suspends flights from the United Kingdom amidst concerns over spread of a more-infectious strain of the coronavirus

India joins the list of several countries who have already announced the suspension of flights and travellers from after the British government said on Sunday that the spread of a more-infectious new strain of the coronavirus was now “out of control”.

In the wake of a more-infectious mutated coronavirus strain detected in the United Kingdom, the Indian government has decided to temporary suspend all flights originating from the UK to India till 31st December.

“Considering the prevailing situation in the UK, Indian govt has decided that all flights originating from the UK to India shall be temporarily suspended till 11:59 pm, 31st December. This suspension to start w.e.f. 11.59 pm, 22nd December,” a tweet posted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation said.

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In addition to this, the ministry has also stated that as a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from 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.

With this ban, India joins the list of several countries who have already announced the suspension of flights and travellers from after the British government said on Sunday that the spread of a more-infectious new strain of the coronavirus was now “out of control”.

France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Kuwait, Turkey, Morocco, El Salvador, Romania, Iran, Israel, El Salvador, Colombia and Saudi Arabia have all announced that they have temporarily halted the flights arriving from Great Britain.

The United Kingdom discovers a mutated, more transmissible strain, imposes lockdown

The development comes on the heels of the announcement made by the UK authorities that they have detected the emergence of a mutated, a more transmissible strain of the Wuhan Coronavirus.

As per reports, the authorities have conceded that the virus has gone ‘out of control’ in the UK. “Unfortunately the new strain was out of control. We have got to get it under control,” informed UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The new variant, discovered in September, is said to be 70% more transmissible than its counterpart.

“There is no current evidence to suggest (it) causes a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments, although urgent work is underway to confirm this,” chief medical officer Chris Whitty emphasised. A notification was thus issued by the Public Health England on Friday to the UK government after modelling the said virus strain. The new strain has reportedly been discovered in South Africa, Denmark, Netherlands and Australia.

In a bid to contain the spread of the new strain of Coronavirus, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced new, four-tier restrictions in London and south-east England. As such, Johnson, who had been insistent on easing Coronavirus guidelines for Christmas, had to do away with his plans. Reportedly, people in tier 4 areas in England can now celebrate Christmas only with their close family members.

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