COVID-19 2nd Wave: List of Countries Announcing Flight Ban and Travel Restrictions from India

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As India is battling the massive surge in coronavirus cases during the second wave of COVID-19, a lot of countries have resorted on travel ban from the country. In March 2020, India announced to stop all scheduled international commercial flights due the nationwide lockdown and since then, regular operations have not started. While India did initiate the world's largest repatriation drive under Mission Vande Bharat, simultaneously, our government also announced bilateral pacts with various countries to ease international travelling.

India managed to establish Air Bubble pact with 27 countries, while flights were operational to many other countries as well. This, however, doesn't stand true anymore. Many countries have announced a ban on flights from India, while many have issued a travel advisory to all passengers flying in and out of India. We look at all such countries announcing restrictions.


[ans]Ever since the caseload of COVID-19 patients has increased due to the second wave, many countries have announced restrictions on flights from India. Here's a list:


– While India doesn't have an air bubble agreement with Hong Kong, many flights were operated as part of Mission Vande Bharat to repatriate stranded Indians. However, Hong Kong has suspended all flights connecting it with India till May 3. The Hong Kong government's decision came after 50 passengers of two Vistara flights this month were found positive for COVID-19 when tested on arrival. According to rules, all passengers who want to come to Hong Kong need to have a COVID-negative RTPCR result with them from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey.


– While earlier India announced a ban on flights from the UK due to a mutant COVID-19 strain, now UK has announced a ban on flights from India due to the rising cases and also the fact that 7 Indians have been found with the mutant COVID-19 strain. UK has put India on the red list. Following the same, Air India has suspended all flights to/from the UK till April 30, 2021.


– As per the new rules, passengers, both Indians and International who have visited India will not be allowed to enter the UAE unless they have spent 14 days in other countries. On the same lines, Emirates announced to halt all flights from India to Dubai. However, departure flights will continue to operate and the ban will not extend to UAE citizens, diplomatic passport holders and official delegations.


– The country has banned all flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days due to the growing wave of COVID-19 cases. Cargo flights from India and Pakistan will continue. As per data shared by Health Ministry of Canada, half the people testing positive for the coronavirus are from India. Flights from India account for about one fifth of the country's air traffic.


– Our neighboring country, too, has decided to ban for two weeks travellers coming from India. Pakistan's National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) took the decision to impose a two-week ban on travel. There will be a ban on inbound passengers coming from India via air and land routes," the statement read.


– New Zealand was among the first nations to announce a temporary ban on travellers coming from India, including its citizens, from 11 to 28 April. The travel ban came after 17 of the 23 newly detected coronavirus cases came from India.


– While there's no regular flight service between Iran and India, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency has reported that the country's civil aviation agency has banned all flights to and from India and Pakistan because of the dramatic surge in coronavirus cases in the two nations. IRNA said the decision was made by Iran's Health Ministry and it takes effect Saturday at midnight.


– Australia has suspended all direct passenger flights from India until May 15, PM Scott Morrison has confirmed. The move has come to prevent more virulent coronavirus variants from entering the country following a surge in positive COVID-19 cases in the world's second-most populous country. Earlier Queensland state urged the federal government to halt all flights from India due to the high risk of potential COVID-19 outbreaks from highly contagious virus variants in the country's hotel quarantine system.


-The Netherlands has said it is suspending all passenger flights arriving from India starting Monday amid a surge in coronavirus infections in the country. The flight ban was announced on Sunday night after the Cabinet received new advice from public health agency RIVM, NL Times reported citing Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen in a letter to Parliament.


– Thailand has suspended issuing travel documents from India over concerns of imported coronavirus cases, as more venues were closed in Bangkok on Monday as part of efforts to contain a third wave of infections in the Southeast Asian nation.


– Italy has joined other countries by imposing restrictions on travel from India to avert the spread of a COVID-19 variant as the Asian nation struggles with a surge in infections. Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Twitter he had signed an order barring foreign travellers who have been in India in the past 14 days from entering the country.


– The Portuguese government has extended travel restrictions to and from countries, including India, that are most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic until May 16. According to the Ministry of Internal Administration, for travellers to and from countries with a Covid-19 incidence rate equal to or greater than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, only flights considered essential are allowed, for example, for professional, study, family reunion, health and humanitarian reasons.


– The Nepal government has decided to halt all international flights until May 14 in an effort to curb the growing spread of Covid-19. Foreigners flying into the Kathmandu Valley are subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine in hotels upon arrival.


– Kenya's health ministry said it was suspending flights to and from India amid the coronavirus surge in that country. [/ans]



– The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has formulated a slew of guidelines and recommendations for people travelling to India from the United States. Cautioning the people against the deadly virus spread in India, the CDC recommended people to avoid travelling to India in the current situation where even fully vaccinated individuals are at risk of catching the virus.

The national health agency further added that if at all one has to travel to India, they should first get fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and upon reaching India, should follow covid safety protocols like washing hands, maintaining 6 feet distance, and wearing marks at all cost to ensure they do not contract the virus.


– Israel issued a travel advisory on Thursday warning citizens including those who have recovered from or been vaccinated against COVID-19 , to refrain from travelling to India, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey because of high COVID morbidity rates in the seven countries.


– With a large Indian diaspora, Singapore, on Tuesday, announced new safety measures including fewer approvals for people coming from India. All travellers from India must now isolate for seven days at a residence after spending 14 days at a dedicated facility for those serving a stay home notice.


– Germany has classified India, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia and Cape Verde as new coronavirus "high incidence areas” due to the number of infections there, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said on Friday. People returning to Germany from high incidence areas must register with the German authorities before travelling and then quarantine on their return.


– Maldives, the island nation famous among Indians for spending leisure time has joined other nations to issue a travel advisory for Indians travelling to the country for tourist activities. As per a directive issued by Maldivian government, they are suspending tourists travelling from India to Maldives from staying at tourist facilities in inhabited islands. The order will be in force from April 27.


– Israel has barred its citizens from travelling to India and six other countries, citing high COVID infection rates there. In a joint press release issued by the Israel Prime Minister's Office and the Health Ministry on Friday, it was said that Israelis will not be allowed to travel to Ukraine, Brazil, Ethiopia, South Africa, India, Mexico and Turkey. This regulation will come into force on May 3 and will remain in place until May 16.[/ans]

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