New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Nearly 15 days after announcing a temporary ban on passenger flights to and from the United Kingdom in wake of the new coronavirus strain found there, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry on Tuesday night allowed restricted resumption of civil aviation with the UK. In the limited resumption, the aviation ministry has reduced the number of flights from 60 to 30 to the UK.

Union Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, said that the decision to resume limited flights has been taken after proper assessment of available facts by the medical professionals of the country. He also said that the RT-PCR COVID-19 test for all passengers has been made mandatory on arrival.

"We took a decision on limited resumption of civil aviation traffic between India and the United Kingdom-based on an assessment of available facts as available with our medical professionals. We decided that RT-PCR test which was done 72 hours ahead of travelling was not enough," Puri said as quoted by ANI.

"So, we made it compulsory to test again on arrival. We will review the situation if any steps have to be taken. So far it is the limited resumption of civil aviation with the UK. The total number of flights to the UK has been reduced from 60 a week to 30. If the situation demands that we need to take more steps, we are constantly reviewing the situation," the minister added.

Talking about the new strain of COVID-19 detected in the UK, Puri said, "Our medical professionals clearly stated that the vaccines which are coming will take care of the new strain. We are capable in terms of procedures and SOPs in place dealing with it. When the new evidence comes up, our professionals will look at it."

The Union Minister had earlier informed that resumption of flights between India and UK from January 6. "Resumption of flights between India and UK: India to the UK from 6 Jan 2021. The UK to India from 8 Jan 2021. 30 flights will operate every week. 15 each by Indian and UK carriers. This schedule is valid till 23 Jan 2021. The further frequency will be determined after review," he tweeted.

Meanwhile, twenty more people have tested positive for the new UK variant of SARS-CoV-2, taking the total number of such cases in the country to 58. The new cases have been identified at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune. All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated Health Care facilities by respective state governments. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan