An Air India aircraft prepares to land at the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi, India. File/AP
Scheduled international commercial passenger flights to and from India will continue to remain suspended till 30th April, announced by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday.
International flights were suspended at the end of March last year as part of a lockdown to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
"In partial modification of circular dated 26-06-2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the above subject regarding scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hrs IST of 30th April, 2021," it said.
Aircrafts are seen parked on a runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji domestic airport in Mumbai, India. File/AP
The extension of the ban on regular flights came on a day when the government announced a major expansion next month of its nation-wide vaccination drive against Coronavirus to cover everyone over the age of 45. So far, only those above 60 years of age were eligible for vaccination. Persons in the age group of 45-60 with co-morbidities were also eligible.
Domestic flight services, however, resumed from May 25, 2020.
Simultaneously, the Ministry of Home Affairs here issued fresh guidelines for effective containment of COVID-19, which will remain in force up to 30th April. The guidelines mandate the states to strictly enforce a three-pronged "Test, Track, Treat" protocol in all parts of the country and ensure COVID-19-appropriate behaviour by everyone.
The new guidelines have come as India recorded a surge in new cases of Coronavirus. In the previous 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reported 40,715 new COVID-19 infections, taking the cumulative total since the onset of infections to 11.69 million. Deaths rose by 199 in a day to total 160,166.DGCA said special flights approved by designated authorities, flights for the evacuation of Indian citizens abroad and bilaterally negotiated "air bubbles" will be exempt from the continuing ban on international air traffic.
The Saudi Health Ministry on Sunday announced the cancellation of all flights to the kingdom for a week for the second time due to a rapidly spreading strain of coronavirus.
A government body dealing with the pandemic said the monthlong travel restrictions would start from Saturday and aim to prevent the spread into the country of coronavirus strains from other countries which are believed to be more contagious.
"It is not just a mission that brought back stranded and distressed citizens from around the world, but Vande Bharat has been a mission of hope and happiness, of letting people know that they will not be left behind even in the most testing times," Puri said.
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.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill held a fiery media conference in which he lashed out at Shirazi for criticising the government’s economic policies in her article.
Sheikh Mohammed exchanged cordial conversations with Simonyte about the bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to advance economic relations towards a new stage that achieves the interests of the two countries and their development aspirations in various fields of common interest, foremost of which are the sectors of advanced technology, innovation, and renewable energy.
This was announced by the Seismology Department of the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), which monitors earthquake activities in the United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied during the visit by his sons, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, and Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.