India-UK flights resume; first plane with 256 passengers lands in Delhi


Weeks after flights between the United Kingdom and India were suspended following the detection of a more infectious strain of the novel coronavirus, air services between the two countries resumed Friday. The first flight carrying 256 passengers from London landed in New Delhi this morning, reported news agency ANI.

The government had suspended flights on December 23. As flights resume in a calibrated manner, for the next two weeks, till January 23, only 15 flights will operate between the two countries.

The incoming flights will land only in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. The government has put out the standard operating procedure for travellers entering India. According to the guidelines, all passengers will have to undergo mandatory self-paid RT-PCR tests on arrival.

However, the Delhi government Friday afternoon announced that all inbound passengers from the United Kingdom will have to spend a week at institutional quarantine centres, essentially designated hotels, even if they test negative after arrival in the city.

“Those who are found negative shall be kept in compulsory institutional quarantine for a period of seven days followed by seven days of home quarantine,” an order issued by Chief Secretary Vijay Dev stated.

“It has been decided that flights between India and the UK will resume from January 8, 2021. Operations till January 23 will be restricted to 15 flights per week each for carriers of the two countries to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad only,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri posted on Twitter last week.

Meanwhile, at least 82 people have tested positive for the new variant of Covid-19 in India so far, the Health Ministry said Friday.

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