New Delhi: Flights between the United Kingdom (UK) and India that were suspended since the last week of December amid fears of new COVID-19 strain resumed from Friday, January 8. A total of 256 passengers from the UK landed in Delhi from Air India flight today, said TV reports.Also Read - Japan Confirms 2nd Case of Omicron Variant, Infected Patient From Peru in Quarantine Now

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On January 6, the first Air India flight for London’s Heathrow left Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport. Another flight from Mumbai left for London on Wednesday evening. Around 491 passengers have travelled out of the country in these two flights. Also Read - IND vs NZ: Wasim Jaffer Names Potential Game-Changer for India in Mumbai Test

The initial decision was to suspend flights till December 31. However, in the wake of increasing cases of the new strain, it was decided to extend the temporary suspension of flights to and from the UK till January 7.

Prior to the suspension, over 60 flights per week were being operated between UK and India. Airlines such as Vistara, Air India, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways operate flights between the two countries.

Strict guidelines in place

The Health Ministry has made it mandatory for all international passengers to undergo a self-paid RT-PCR Test on their arrival at the airports. Notably, the cost of RT-PCR test for passengers arriving from the UK will be Rs 3,400 per person.

As per the SOPs issued by the government, the passengers will have to submit self-declaration form on the online portal, www.newdelhiairport.in, at least 72 hours before the travel and also carry negative RT-PCR test with them.  Airlines are tasked with ensuring availability of negative test before allowing the passenger on board.

Passengers who test positive at the airport will be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in an isolation unit coordinated by the State Health Authorities. They would earmark specific facilities for such isolation and treatment and take necessary action to send the positive samples for genome sequencing.

Extend ban on UK flights till Jan 31

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yesterday 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.