India’s Covid crisis cuts flights

SINGAPORE, 26 April 2021: India’s latest surge in Covid-19 cases exceeding 300,000 infections and more than 2,000 deaths daily has prompted foreign airlines to suspend flights.

The UAE on Friday updated its travel ban for India, saying that all incoming flights on national and foreign carriers from India will be suspended. Transportation of passengers from the Gulf country to India will be allowed. The order suspends services by Etihad and Emirates as of the weekend.

The announcement by UAE’s General Authority of Civil Aviation and the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) bans flights for 10 days from Sunday due to the worsening Covid-19 situation.

Similar bans have been announced for flights to the UK, Uk, Singapore, New Zealand and Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, the decision to suspend flights from India followed the positive Covid-19 testing of 50 passengers who had arrived on a Vistara flight.

Air India grounds all flights to Canada until 21 May. It has also stopped services to the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Israel, South Korea and Sri Lanka until 30 April.

In the case of the UAE, travellers from third countries who visited India during the last 14 days are also impacted by the flight ban.

The UK entry ban for all nationalities who have been in India during the last 14 days does not include British citizens. However, on return to the UK, they must enter a 10-day quarantine in assigned hotels at their own expense on arriving in the UK.

UAE authorities announced that all inbound travellers must present negative results of COVID-19 tests taken from medical centres approved by authorities of departure countries within 72 hours prior to arrival from 25 April until further notice to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Qatar authorities confirmed it would require negative Covid-19 test results for all travellers arriving in the country from 25 April.

Last week the US issued a travel advisory against travel to India.

“Even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk of getting and spreading variants and should avoid all travel to India, the advisory stated.

“If you must travel to India, get fully vaccinated before travel,” the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention advised US citizens.

The Delhi government last week rapped the knuckles of four airlines — IndiGo, Vistara, SpiceJet and Air Asia for not checking properly the RT-PCR negative reports of those coming from Maharashtra and flouting Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) norms.

(Source: Travel advisories)