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India extends UK air travel restrictions till Feb 14

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 31, 2021

Air India Flight ready to take off at the Chennai Airport(File Photo: Velankanni Raj B)   -  The Hindu

Flights are allowed at only five airports

The limited flight connectivity between India and the UK will continue till February 14 and the India-bound flights from the UK would be allowed only in five international airports such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, according to a directive issued on Saturday.

The decision to impose restrictions on air travel between the UK and India was taken after the discovery of a more infectious SARS-CoV2 variant in the UK, which since them spread to 60 countries including India.

The Health Ministry in consultation with the Ministry of Civil Aviation has been periodically reviewing the situation and the last meeting on Saturday decided to extend the limited air travel between the two countries till February 14.

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued subsequent to the meeting said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will issue necessary permission for limited number of flight operations and there would be adequate spacing between flights scheduled to arrive at Indian airports so that there would be any crowding while carrying out Covid-19 tests on inbound passengers, the directive said.

It will also strictly monitor that the airlines do not allow any passengers to travel from UK to India through a transit airport of third country, to ensure there are no omissions in monitoring of those passengers.

All international travellers would need to declare their travel history (of past 14 days) and submit a self declaration form at Air Suvidha portal at least 72 hours before the scheduled travel. They should also be carrying a negative RT-PCR test report for which test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.

Airlines have to ensure only those passengers with negative test reports will be allowed to board the flight. The passengers have to undergo self-paid RT-PCR test on arrival at the Indian airports.

Passengers testing positive shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate (isolation) unit coordinated by the respective State Health Authorities. They would earmark specific facilities for such isolation and treatment and take necessary action to send the positive samples to Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) Labs for genomic analysis.

If the genomic sequencing indicates the presence of new variant of SARSCoV-2 then the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit. While necessary treatment as per the existing protocol will be given, the patient shall be tested on 14 th day. The patient will be kept in the isolation facility till his sample is tested negative.

Those who are found negative on testing with RT-PCR at the airport would be advised quarantine at home for 14 days and regularly followed up by the concerned State and district health officials.

All contacts of those travellers tested positive on arrival during the air travel will have to undergo institutional quarantine in separate quarantine centres. If a passenger moved to another State, the concerned authorities in that State will be informed about so that they can keep a watch on the subject, it said.

Published on January 31, 2021

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