An IndiGo plane takes off from Mumbai airport. File
India may permit regular international air travel as part of a fresh package of relaxations in containment measures against the spread of coronavirus that were announced on Wednesday.
"For further opening up of international air travel of passengers, the Ministry of Civil Aviation may take a decision in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs based on the assessment of the situation," the government’s new "Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution," which will go into effect on Feb.1 said.
India suspended all incoming and outgoing international flights as well as domestic air travel in the last week of March 2020 as part of a lockdown to combat COVID-19. Flights to and from India have since been resumed in a phased manner with about two-dozen countries under "air bubbles."
Meanwhile, India has fully opened up domestic air services.
Air bubbles are temporary travel arrangements with specific countries aimed at restarting scheduled commercial passenger services as the pandemic situation improves. Such flight arrangements are currently in force in the Gulf with the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.
Under the new guidelines from Feb.1, "all activities will be permitted outside containment zones," which are specific areas with a high spread of COVID-19 infections.
"The main focus of the new guidelines is to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of COVID-19. This is visible in the steady decline in number of active and new cases in the country over the last four months," the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
Fresh relaxations include the opening of swimming pools and exhibitions. Cinema halls and theatres which been running at half capacity will now be permitted to operate with higher seating.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that effective from 0300 GMT on Friday, India was being added to Britain's "red list" of countries, banning all arrivals from India except for UK or Irish nationals.
Briefing the media on the progress of Phase IV of the mission, known as "Vande Bharat," Srivastava said the additional flights will from GCC countries, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK, Europe, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine.
Kuwait has suspended all flights from India until further notice, Bahrain has updated International arrival procedures for passengers from India. Germany is sharply restricting travel from India and Iran has banned all flights to and from India and Pakistan.
Senior health official Vinod Kumar Paul told a news briefing that government experts were studying data on boosters but "our emphatic view...is to (first) cover every adult with (just) the primary two doses." The government has said this target can be achieved by January.
Sheikh Mohammed says that despite the predictions of the WTO of a 3.5 per cent decline in international trade this year, the UAE achieved a growth of 19 per cent in the first nine months of the year. He also expects the country’s foreign trade to grow to Dhs2.2 trillion by end of 2022.
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior arrested the errant driver that caused the accident on one of the main roads, according to what was published by Kuwaiti local media.
With 134 seats, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday won the prestigious battle for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), ending the 15-year-rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
There were nearly eight times as many heatwaves, 27 in all, and lightning strikes rose more than 111 times, killing 907 people, the Ministry of Earth Sciences said in a report to parliament. Thunderstorms increased more than five times to 240.