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Air India Flight from UK With 246 Passengers Lands in Delhi as Cases of New Coronavirus Strain Grow

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said previously that flights from India to the UK will resume from January 6, while services from that country to here would resume January 8 onwards.

An Air India flight from the UK has landed in Delhi with 246 passengers on board, ANI has reported. Flights resumed on Friday despite concerns over a mutant strain of the coronavirus which is said to spread faster, emerged in Britain.

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said previously that flights from India to the UK will resume from January 6, while services from the country to here would resume January 8 onwards.

Puri had said that 30 flights will operate every week; 15 each by Indian and UK carriers. "This schedule is valid till 23 Jan 2021. Further frequency will be determined after review," he had said in a tweet.

According to an SOP issued by the health ministry earlier this month, all passengers coming from the UK between January 8 and January 30 would be subjected to self-paid COVID-19 tests on arrival.

Meanwhile, the number of people who have tested positive for the new UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 has climbed to 82 in India, the health ministry said on Friday. The number of such people stood at 73 till January 6, it added.

"The total number of cases infected with the new strain of the novel coronavirus, first reported in the UK, now stands at 82," the ministry said.

All the people who have tested positive for the new variant of the virus were kept in single-room isolation at designated healthcare facilities by the respective state governments, the ministry had earlier said.

Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. A comprehensive contact-tracing exercise has been initiated for their co-travellers, family members and others and genome sequencing on other specimens is going on, the ministry said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Thursday urged the Centre to extend the ban on flights between India and the UK till January 31 in view of the extremely serious COVID situation in that country.

"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," Kejriwal said on Twitter.

"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.


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