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India suspends flights from UK till 31 December amid concerns over new coronavirus strain

Suspension to begin Tuesday midnight. Health Secretary says all passengers arriving before suspension must undergo RT-PCR tests, and isolate for 7 days even if found negative.

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New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation Monday announced that flights from the United Kingdom will be suspended till 31 December amid concerns over a new strain of the novel coronavirus found in that country.

“Considering the prevailing situation in the UK, Govt. of India has decided that all flights originating from UK to India to be suspended till 31st December 2020,” the ministry tweeted.

This follows an urgent meeting of the Union health ministry’s Joint Monitoring Group, headed by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS).

In a letter to Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, which has been released to the press, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said: “India has been seeing a sustained decline in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases for over 2.5 months now, accompanied by a decline in the number of deaths. In this scenario, any interjection of a SARS-CoV-2 variant virus through passengers with air travel history could pose critical risks for pandemic management in India.”

The suspension will begin at 23:59 hours on 22 December 2020, and passengers arriving from the UK before that have to undergo RT-PCR tests mandatorily.

“Those who are found positive on arrival must be sent for institutional quarantine/isolation set up by the state/UT governments, in collaborations with the states/UTs concerned,” Bhushan stated, adding that those who test negative will have to undergo home isolation for seven days.

Also read: Italy, Netherlands, Belgium ban travel to UK as new Covid strain stokes panic in country

The meeting

The mutation, that is being dubbed VUI-202012/01 or lineage B.1.1.7, has raised considerable concern as preliminary studies have shown it is 70 per cent more transmissible.

Bhushan listed out the measures suggested by the JMG and the Vaccine Task Force headed by the Principal Scientific Adviser K. VijayRaghavan and NITI Aayog Member (Health) V.K. Paul.

The meeting was attended by experts from AIIMS, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said there is no need to panic over the new coronavirus strain. “The government is fully conscious about everything. If you ask me, there is no reason to panic the way we are seeing in this press conference,” he said at the India International Science Festival.

Also read: What is the new coronavirus strain in UK and will vaccines work on it?


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  1. New variant of Coronavirus detected in UK , world comes to know of it around mid-December 2020.
    According to news reports around mid-December 2020 , a new variant of the coronavirus is sweeping across London and Southern England. Scientists believe it is significantly more contagious than the other strains. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reported to have said that the fast-moving new variant of the virus is 70% more transmissible than existing strains, and appears to be driving a rapid spike in new infections in London and Southern England. It is being clarified , however , that there is no evidence to suggest that the new variant of coronavirus is more lethal or causes more severe illness , or that vaccines would be less effective against it .
    In this context , it may be apt to share with readers this Vedic astrology writer’s one of related prior predictive alerts in article as follows :-
    “ Major worrisome potential of concerns during 10 January to 13 February in soon coming year 2021 for vulnerable countries of world including India as well , calling for more care and appropriate strategy”.
    The article was published at on 26 November , 2020. The related prior predictive alert in the said article reads as follows :-
    “ ( B ). ( 1 ).
    Where vulnerable , a civil war or change in the government appears to be imminent , may be around mid-December 2020 even. Pakistan looks to be closer to this reading of planetary impacts. Some other vulnerable countries across the globe look to be witnessing woeful times. …….. Want and disease look to be getting virulent to torment. Economic and financial dip can be the worst-ever”.
    In short , the prior predictive text had on 26 November sought to alert vulnerable countries across the globe against woeful times which can have something to do with disease which may have the effect of causing major economic dip during the period from mid-December 2020 , particularly from about 10 January to 13 February in 2021. Obviously , it was a meaningful tip to the medical fraternity in vulnerable countries for taking more care and appropriate strategy.
    Link to reach the article published on 26 November , 2020 , referred to here : –

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