Extend ban on UK flights till Jan 31: Kejriwal

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New Delhi, Jan 7 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday urged the Centre to extend the ban on flights between India and the UK till January 31 in view of the “extremely serious” COVID situation in that country.

“The Centre has decided to lift the ban and start UK flights. In view of the extremely serious situation in UK, I would urge central government to extend the ban till January 31,” Kejriwal said on Twitter.

“With great difficulty, people have brought COVID situation in control. UK's COVID situation is very serious. Now, why lift ban and expose our people to risk?” the chief minister said.

India had suspended all passenger flights connecting the two countries from December 23 to January 7 as a new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus emerged in the UK.

Nine residents of the national capital have so far been found infected with the new coronavirus variant.

So far, 66 people, including those who recently returned from the UK and their contacts, have tested positive for coronavirus. Most of them have been kept in a separate isolation facility at the LNJP Hospital here.

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said on Saturday flights from India to the UK will resume from January 6, while services from that country to here would resume January 8 onwards.

Puri had tweeted, “30 flights will operate every week. 15 each by Indian & UK carriers. This schedule is valid till 23 Jan 2021. Further frequency will be determined after review'.

According to the standard operating procedures issued by the health ministry, all passengers coming from the UK between January 8 and January 30 would be subjected to self-paid COVID-19 tests on arrival.

Moreover, each passenger arriving from the UK would have to bring his or her COVID-19 negative report from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey, it said. PTI GVS RDM RDM