New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: All flyers arriving in India from the UK will be mandatorily tested for COVID-19 while those testing positive for the new virus strain will be kept in a separate isolation unit.

In the new SOPs, all passengers arriving from Britain will have to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing at the airports. Those testing positive for the new virus variant will be kept at separate isolation unit for at least 14 days before they are tested again. 

"Those who are found negative on testing with RT-PCR at the airport would be advised quarantine at home," the guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Ministry read.  

Meanwhile, Air India is offering the passengers, who have booked to travel during the period, one-time free reschedule for travel completed within 31st Dec 2021. The air carrier also said that all penalties for one-time rescheduling, cancellation, rerouting will be waived for bookings between December 22 and 31 2020. 

The new set of guidelines have been released in wake of the new "out of control" virus strain causing fears across the globe, with several European Union countries closing borders with Britain. 

"This variant is defined by a set of 17 changes or mutations. One of the most significant...changes...may result in the virus becoming more infectious and spreading more easily between people," the ministry statement said.

The government on Monday said all UK-India flights will be suspended from December 23 to December 31 in view of the emergence of a new coronavirus strain in that country. It also said all passengers coming from UK on Monday and Tuesday would be  compulsorily tested for coronavirus on arrival at airports. 

Earlier today, six passengers travelling on Air India's London-Delhi flight tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival. The positive samples from Monday night's flight were sent to the National Centre for Disease Control.

Several European countries including France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Bulgaria, the Irish Republic, Turkey and Canada have already closed its borders amid growing concerns of an "out of control" new variant of coronavirus spreading at a much faster pace in parts of England.

Other countries and territories to announce restrictions on UK travel include Hong Kong, Israel, Iran, Croatia, Argentina, Chile, Morocco and Kuwait.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta