Kuwait suspends all commercial flights from India amid COVID-19 surge

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Dubai, Apr 24 (PTI) Kuwait on Saturday suspended all direct commercial flights coming from India until further notice due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.

The move came after instructions from health authorities.

Kuwait's directorate general of civil aviation said that it had suspended all direct commercial flights coming from India, effective April 24.

All passengers arriving from India either directly or via another country will be banned from entering unless they have spent at least 14 days out of India, it said in a statement on Twitter.

Kuwaiti citizens, their first degree relatives and their domestic workers will be allowed to enter the country.

Operations of freight flights will continue, it said.

Over one million Indian community members live in Kuwait, the largest expatriate community in the country, according to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait.

Earlier, the UK, the UAE and Canada announced ban flights from India amid the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.

A record single-day rise of 3,46,786 coronavirus cases pushed India's tally of infection to 1,66,10,481, while active cases crossed the 25-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the UAE on Friday updated its travel ban for India, saying that all incoming flights on national and foreign carriers from the country will be suspended, while transportation of passengers from the Gulf country to India will be allowed.

The UAE on Thursday banned travel from India for 10 days from Sunday due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.

The UAE’s General Authority of Civil Aviation and the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) announced an update on regulations with the clarification that entry from India will be suspended for all incoming flights on national and foreign carriers.

According to a statement released, this will also apply to those carrying transit passengers, except for transit flights coming to the UAE and heading onward to India.

“This decision includes the entry of travellers who were in India in the last 14 days prior to coming to the UAE,” the statement said.

The statement, however, said that the flights between the two countries will continue to operate allowing the transportation of passengers from the UAE to India.

“It will also allow the transfer of exempted groups from India to the UAE with the application of the aforementioned precautionary measures. These groups include UAE citizens, diplomatic missions appointed by the two countries, official delegations and those holding golden residency,” it said.

The exemptions will apply provided they undertake preventive measures that include quarantine for 10 days and a PCR test at the airport, as well as on the fourth and eighth days following the entry into the country.

The required PCR test period has also been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours prior to travel from accredited laboratories that issue test results carrying a QR code.

“The authority also confirmed that it is required for those coming from India through other countries to stay in those countries for at least 14 days before being allowed to enter the country, starting from 23:59 on Saturday, April 24, 2021,” said the statement.

These regulations will apply for a period of 10 days, which can be extended, while cargo flights continue to operate between the two countries.

The authority called upon all travellers affected by the decision to follow up with the relevant airlines to change or reschedule their flights and to ensure their safe return to their final destinations without delay. PTI Corr RS NSA AKJ NSA