India to Resume UK Flights From Today in Calibrated Manner, 30 Flights Scheduled to Operate

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The government will resume India-UK flights which were closed since the last week of December amid concerns over the 'highly infectious' new Covid-19 strain that was first found in the United Kingdom. Two Air India flights, one from Delhi and one from Mumbai, will fly for London on January 6. As of now, only 30 flights will be operational between the countries instead of 70, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri confirmed.

Passengers travelling from the United Kingdom to India from January 8 to 31 will now be subjected to mandatory self-paid RT-PCR test at the airport, the Health Ministry said on Saturday. Flight services between the two countries were suspended on December 22 in the wake of a more infectious coronavirus strain found in UK's population. The services will resume on January 6. This strain has so far been detected in over 29 travellers in India.

According to the standard operating procedure issued by the health ministry, those travelling between January 8 and 31, would be mandatorily subjected to self-paid RT-PCR tests on arrival at the Indian airports concerned.

Passengers will have to submit self-declaration form on the online portal, at least 72 hours before the travel and also carry negative RT-PCR test with them. Airlines are tasked with ensuring the availability of negative test before allowing the passenger on board.

Passengers who test positive at the airport will be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in an isolation unit coordinated by the State Health Authorities. They would earmark specific facilities for such isolation and treatment and take necessary action to send positive samples for genome sequencing.

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After genome sequencing, if the report is consistent with the current virus genome circulating in the country, the ongoing treatment protocol including home isolation or treatment will be followed.