Business Today reports that several countries have banned flights from India, citing COVID-19 cases and the “double mutant” virus found in the country. In addition to the flight ban , the United States, United Kingdom, Kuwait, France, Canada, Iran, and Indonesia and UAE are the latest to have banned their citizens from travelling to India.
Iran has decided to bar travellers from Pakistan as well as India as from from Sunday midnight, with President Hassan Rouhani, saying, “The Indian coronavirus is a new threat we face. The Indian virus is more dangerous that the English and Brazilian variants.”
Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti directorate general of civil aviation, said its ban will be effective from April 24. The directorate tweeted that all those arriving from India either directly or via another country, except for Kuwaiti nationals and their domestic workers, will be barred from coming back to Kuwait unless they spend at least 14 days elsewhere, out of India. The UAE has banned all flights except cargo flights from India for 10 days beginning midnight, April 24. The ban could be extended. Passenger flights, however, will continue to operate for UAE citizens, diplomatic mission, official delegations, businessmen and those having residency in the UAE.
Indonesian, meanwhile, has decided to not issue visas to any foreigners who have been in India in the past 14 days. Indonesians entering from India will be allowed to enter the country but will, according to Business Today, have to follow stricter protocols and quarantine rules. The harsher protocols follow twelve out of the 129 passengers onboard a chartered plane that arrived in Indonesia from Chennai having tested positive for the coronavirus.
France has barred flights from five countries-India, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa.
The US government has issued an advisory to all its citizens to avoid travelling to India. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, “Because of the current situation in India, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading variants.” Further, the UK has added India to its COVID-19 travel “red list”. This effectively bars all travel from the country and makes 10-day hotel quarantine for all UK and Irish citizens coming back from India. 103 cases of the Indian COVID-19 variant have already been identified in the UK, of which “vast majority had links to international travel”. Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu mentioned that half the people who are testing positive after arriving in Canada via flights came from India. There is to be a 30 day ban on flights from India and Pakistan. Cargo flights, however, continue.
Hong Kong has suspended international flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from April 20 till May 2. The authorities concerned decided to ban flights from India on the Mumbai-Hong Kong routes after 50 passengers tested positive for the virus on arrival. Singapore has banned all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who have travelled to India within the last 14 days from April 24. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a reduction in flights from nations like India.
Sadly, India has recorded almost 333 000 new cases of the virus in the past 24 hours, with almost 3000 deaths.
Umm Muhammed Umar