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India has not yet taken a decision on when to lift or ease restrictions on domestic and international flights and urged airlines to take travel bookings only after a final decision is made, a government minister said.
The government announced a halt to domestic flights on March 23, ordering commercial airlines to shut down domestic operations on top of an existing ban on international flights to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus.
"The Ministry of Civil Aviation clarifies that so far no decision has been taken to open domestic or international operations," civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet late on Saturday.
"Airlines are advised to open their bookings only after a decision in this regard has been taken by the Government", he added.
About 144 million people travelled on domestic flights last year.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day national lockdown in late March to contain the spread of the virus outbreak. The lockdown has been extended until May 3 at least.
Still, India has announced a roadmap to restart some industrial activity after April 20 in locations that are not coronavirus hotspots to try to revive the economy.
India has reported over 15,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 500 deaths as of early Sunday, according to data from the Indian government.
The latest phase of these repatriation flights, known as the "Vande Bharat Mission," began on March 1 and will last till March 28. Slightly more than 1,350 international flights are scheduled to be operated from 28 countries in this phase, enabling an estimated 260,000 Indians to travel home.
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