Coronavirus outbreak- India bans international flights till March 28

Air India

indica News Bureau-

In a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, the government on Thursday announced that no international flights will be allowed to land in India from March 22 for a week.

“No scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall be allowed to land in India from March 22, 2020, for one week,” the government said in an advisory.

“No commercial aircraft shall land in India after midnight falling between March 21 and March 22 till midnight falling between March 28 and March 29,” Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said at a press conference.

The government also issued an advisory and said that persons above 65 years of age have been asked to stay at home, except for government servants and medical professionals. Children below 10 years of age are also asked to stay indoors.

In a bid to discourage non-essential travel, the government also scrapped concessions offered for air and rail travel, except for students, patients, and disabled people.

The decisions were taken at a meeting of Group of Ministers formed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, chaired by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, and were targeted a preventing community transmission of the disease.

A senior Health Ministry official insisted that at present the spread of the disease can be traced back to the source of infection, making it a Stage-2 outbreak.

In addition to the government advisory, the Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a separate statement that while a maximum time of 20 hours is permissible for international commercial passenger aircraft to land in India, no aircraft will be allowed to disembark passengers on Indian soil, both Indians and foreigners, after 8 pm on 22 March.

“These instructions are are in additions to the travel restrictions /advisories already issued and under implementation,” DGCA circular added.

Globally, over 9,115 people have died due to Covid-19, while the number of those infected crossed 222,642 cases, according to the latest data by Johns Hopkins University. Many governments, including the US have restricted the entry of foreigners as a precautionary measure to contain the virus.

 

As of Thursday, India has 190 positive cases of COVID-19, 19 discharged patients, four deaths and one migrated.

Most Indian airlines have canceled a significant number of international and domestic flights as travel restrictions hit the transport and tourism sectors.

 

The Mint reported quoting Aviation industry lobby group The International Air Transport Association (IATA), if the Covid-19 not contained, it could cost airlines globally as much as $113 billion in revenue loss.