23 Mar 2021: Coronavirus: DGCA suspends international commercial flights till April 30
As the COVID-19 situation in India worsens, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday announced the suspension of international commercial flights till April 30.
Since hitting a low in early-February, coronavirus infections have started rising in India once again, crossing 40,000 single-day cases.
The latest suspension comes amid news of the virus mutating and different strains being more infectious.
Announcement: Some flights may be allowed on select routes: DGCA
The DGCA announced on Tuesday that commercial passenger services to/from India shall remain suspended till 11:59 pm IST on April 30.
The suspension does not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA.
International scheduled flights "may be allowed on selected routes" by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis, the aviation regulator said.
History: India had suspended international flights same day last year
India had initially suspended scheduled international passenger flights on March 23 last year, shortly before the nationwide lockdown was announced.
The suspension has been extended several times since then.
However, special international flights were allowed to operate last May.
In July last year, the government also allowed bilateral "air bubble" arrangements with select countries. India has "air bubble" pacts with roughly 20 nations.
Outbreak: 1.16 crore people infected in India so far
According to the Union Health Ministry, as of 8 am on Tuesday, India had reported a total of 1,16,86,796 COVID-19 infections.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,11,81,253 patients have recovered from COVID-19, and only 3,45,377 infections are active.
The death toll has risen to 1,60,166.
India added 40,715 new cases and 199 fresh fatalities on Tuesday.