Flights originating from the UK to India have been suspended due to the mutant coronavirus strain that has spread in the UK. "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," said Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The decision to suspend flights from the UK comes after a host of countries temporarily banned flights from the country. In India too, pressure on the government to take a similar decision was mounting with several political leaders including Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot urging the Centre to ban flights from the country reeling under the new coronavirus strain.
Earlier in the day, the Health Ministry called for an urgent meeting to discuss the fast-paced spread of the mutant coronavirus strain in the UK. A similar strain with small differences has also been found in South Africa too. However, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan asked people to not panic during a press briefing and said that the government was alert over the matter.
Several countries including France, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Turkey, Iran and Israel have temporarily suspended flights from the UK. Some have cancelled flights from South Africa too.
Boris Johnson-led UK government said that the new strain of coronavirus is 'out of control'. Putting the country under the strictest of lockdown norms, Johnson said that the mutant coronavirus strain is more than 70 per cent transmissible than the existing strains. London and Southern England have been severely impacted. The UK government has urged people to restrict Christmas celebrations and to stick to their local areas.