A new variant of coronavirus has started spreading at an alarming rate in the United Kingdom, pushing the nation into another wave of the pandemic. The detection of this mutant virus happened first in September, in southeast England. Now, it is spreading like wildfire in London and other parts of England. Thus, the severest levels of restrictions have been put in Britain now. Amid the surge of this new infection, India has banned all flights from the UK till December 31, starting from 11:59 PM on December 22. Maharashtra has also mandated 14-days institutional quarantine for people returning from Europe and the Middle East.
Countries That Have Banned All International Flights
To prevent the coronavirus’s new variant from entering their borders, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman have stopped all international arrivals.
- While Kuwait and India’s air bubble arrangement was supposed to come into effect, Kuwait has now suspended all international flights and closed its borders until January 1.
- Oman had relaxed visas for over a hundred nations, including India. But Oman too has closed it’s land and sea borders for a week. All international flights to and from Muscat is suspended for a week.
- While Saudi Arabia still doesn’t allow flights from India, it allowed passengers to be ferried from India’s Gulf. The country has now entirely closed its borders through land and seaports for a week. There are high chances of extension of the ban. Besides, people who have arrived in Saudi Arabia from Europe from December 8 will have to undergo testing and self-isolate for two weeks.
Countries That Banned Flights From UK
As soon as the UK announced that it was dealing with an ‘out of control’ COVID strain, countries across the world suspended flights from the nation. At least 20 countries including India, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Morocco, Guatemala, Chile and Argentina. have announced a flight ban. Passengers travelling from the UK via UAE will also be restricted entry in the country.
Maharashtra Imposed New Rules On Overseas Passengers
- If you are travelling from the UK, you will have to undergo a compulsory quarantine. If you exhibit symptoms, you will be sent to Seven Hills hospital at Andheri for further investigation and checkup. If not, you will be sent to seven days of institutional quarantine.
- As per the new guidelines, the RT-PCR test will be conducted on Day 7 of arrival. If you are found negative, you will be discharged from institutional quarantine and undergo a seven-day home quarantine. However, officials working in a foreign embassy and Counsel General Office will be exempted from institutional quarantine.
- If you are travelling from other European and Middle Eastern countries, you should spend seven days in an institutional quarantine facility. If you are symptomatic, you will be sent to GT hospital for further investigations.
The New Virus Might Pose ‘Critical Risks’ For Pandemic Management In India
According to an NDTV report, the aviation ministry has stated, “Considering the prevailing situation in UK, the government of India has decided that all flights originating from UK to India to be suspended till 31st December.” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said, “India has been seeing a sustained decline in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases for over two months now, accompanied by a decline in the number of deaths. In this scenario, any interjection of a SARS-CoV-2 variant virus through passengers with air travel history could pose critical risks for pandemic management in India.”
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had also tweeted, “New mutation of coronavirus has emerged in UK, which is a super-spreader. I urge central government to ban all flights from the UK immediately.” The vaccines are getting launched, but at the same time, the pandemic is imposing newer challenges. So, stay safe and follow the precautionary measures. Meanwhile, this Kasturba Hospital doctor has shared his experience on COVID-19: