Ban on passenger flights to Kolkata from 6 cities extended till Aug 15

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(with additional inputs) Kolkata, July 30 (PTI) The ban on passenger flights to Kolkata from six cities -- all COVID-19 hotspots -- has been extended till August 15 amid a spurt in coronavirus cases in the state, airport authorities sources here said on Thursday.

'The restriction on arriving flights to #KolkataAirport from 6 cities viz Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Nagpur & Ahmedabad has been extended up to August 15 2020,' the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport tweeted.

'Civil Aviation Ministry GOI has been advised by GOWB to continue with the embargo on flights to Kolkata from the high COVID prevalence cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai and Ahmedabad till August 15 2020,' the West Bengal government said in a statement this evening.

The airport authorities also announced that flight operations at the NSCBI airport will remain suspended for seven days in August as part of the lockdown strategy adopted by the West Bengal government to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

'Flight operations at #KolkataAirport will remain suspended on following lockdown days as announced by West Bengal Govt: 5th, 8th, 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th & 31st August 2020. Passengers are requested to contact concerned Airline for changes in flight schedule,' the NSCBI tweeted.

State chief secretary Rajiva Sinha had written to union civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola requesting suspension of flights from the six cities which were witnessing maximum the COVID-19 infections to Kolkata till July 31.

Before that the airport authorities had announced that no passenger flight will arrive in Kolkata from the six cities from July 6 to July 19. This was later extended till July 31.

The decision was taken following a request by the state government to the civil aviation ministry.

West Bengal reported 46 COVID-19 fatalities on Thursday, the highest on a single day so far. This has puhed the toll in the state due to the contagion to 1,536, the health department said.

The state's caseload shot up to 67,692 with a record 2,434 new cases, it said in a bulletin. PTI PNT KK KK