New Delhi: Union Ministry of Civil Aviation on Monday announced that all flights originating from the UK to India will remain suspended till December 31. Earlier, a number of European countries 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 Sunday. In India, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his Rajasthan counterpart have asked the Narendra Modi-led government to ban all flights from the UK immediately in view of the emergence of a mutated variant of the coronavirus there.Also Read - More than half of Omicron cases in UK were double vaccinated
Take a look at the list of countries that have stopped flights from the UK so far: Also Read - RT-PCR Test, Mandatory Quarantine: How These States Brace to Tackle Omicron Variant | Full List Here
India: Considering the prevailing situation in the UK, the 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, said the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Also Read - Beyond Pawandeep Rajan-Arunita Kanjilal! Indian Idol 12 Contestant Sawai Bhatt Struggling With Stability, Read on
Hongkong: The Hong Kong government also suspended flights from the UK starting on Tuesday. Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said Hong Kong has not imposed such stringent measures before, but the measure was necessary to prevent the spread of the mutant coronavirus in the city.
Netherlands: The Netherlands became the first major European country to announce a ban on flights. It has suspended all from the UK for at least the rest of the year.
Canada: Canada has stopped all the commercial passengers and private flights to the United Kingdom for 72 hours, amid fears of highly infectious new mutant strain of the novel coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia has halted all international flights for a week. The ban, which came into effect on Sunday, also applies to entry of passengers to the Kingdom through land and sea ports, Gulf News quoted the source as saying. However, foreign flights that are currently in the Saudi territory will be exempt and will be allowed to leave, the source said.
France: France banned all travel from the UK for 48 hours from midnight Sunday. In a statement, the French government said that the short two-day period would buy authorities time to find a common doctrine on how to deal with the threat. It specified that flows of people or transport to the UK are not affected.
Germany: The German government also banned flights coming from Britain. The transportation ministry said all UK flights with the exception of cargo flights were no longer allowed to land in Germany starting at midnight Sunday. It didn’t immediately say how long the flight ban would last, but news agency dpa reported it would be in place at least until Dec. 31.
Italy: Italy’s health minister, Roberto Speranza, said an order signed Sunday blocks flights from Britain and prohibits entry into Italy by anyone who has been in the UK in the last 14 days. The order bans plane travel until Jan. 6.
Belgium: Belgium issued a flight ban for 24 hours starting at midnight and also halted train links to Britain, including the Eurostar
Austria: Austria said it would halt flights from the U.K. but did not exactly specify when that would take place.
Ireland: Britain’s neighbour Ireland has also restricted flights from UK for 48 hours. “The Minister for Transport and the Minister for Health had detailed discussions on Sunday and announced that in the interests of Public Health, people in Britain, regardless of nationality, should not travel to Ireland, by air or by sea,” the Irish Government said in a statement.
Bulgaria: Similarly, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boiko Borissov after a meeting with Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, Transport Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov and Health Minister Kostadin Angelov decided to suspend all flights between Bulgaria and the UK from December 21 and January 31
Morocco: Morocco suspended air travel with the UK last night. However,it allowed some flights to resume linking tourist hubs Agadir and Marrakech with London, in a bid to save its hard-hit tourism sector, reported Reuters.
Meanwhile, the list is expected to quickly grow as several countries, including India reportedly mulling to ground flights to and from the UK.
‘No need to panic’
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asserted that there is no need to panic as the government is alert on the issue. Earlier, the Health Ministry called an emergency meeting of its top advisors to discuss the emergence of the mutated strain of coronavirus in the United Kingdom.
The Joint Monitoring Group is chaired by the Director General of Health Services. Experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the World Health Organization (WHO) representative and others are also part of the emergency meeting.