New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The government on Thursday extended the ban on international flights till April 14, amid the 21-day nation-wide lockdown to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

"In continuation of circular dated March 19, 2020 issued on the subject – travel and visa restrictions related to COVID-19 – it has been decided that scheduled international commercial passenger services shall remain closed till 6:30 hours (GMT) of April 14, 2020," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in an official notification.

"However, this restriction will not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA," it added.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on March 19 had announced that no international commercial passenger flight operations will take place in India from 1.30 am on March 23 to 5.30 am on March 29.

The government has also suspended domestic passenger flight operations from midnight on March 24.

There are 649 coronavirus positive cases in the country and 13 people have died due to it till now, according to the Union health ministry.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days from Tuesday midnight, asserting that this is necessary for a decisive battle against the coronavirus. 

The Centre and state governments have taken measures to ensure that the supply of all essential items continue smoothly, PM Modi had said, seeking to allay apprehensions among people about availability of food and other essential provisions.

He had underscored the challenge India faces at a time when countries with world class health infrastructure have been left "helpless" due to the rapid pace of the coronavirus' spread as he repeatedly, at times with folded hands, asked people to remain indoors.

The lockdown will be like a "curfew" only but more stringent than the 'janata curfew', which the country had observed on Sunday, he said, adding it will have an economic cost but saving people's lives is of the paramount interest to his government.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma