India has postponed the resumption of international flights until February 2022, in the wake of growing concerns about the new Covid-19 variant, confirmed the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday.
This comes just a few days after the Center announced that it would not restart international flights from December 15th.
“The situation is being closely observed… and an appropriate decision will be notified in due course indicating the effective date for the resumption of regular international commercial passenger services.”Announced the DGCA.
The country, however, agreed to keep its 32 travel bubbles operational.
UAE, France, United Kingdom and United States are among the countries that can still travel to India through their travel routes.
In the past, travelers could bypass restrictions by connecting through a country where they could fly. This has become more difficult now.
The increase in COVID-19 infections and the risk posed by the new variant led authorities in several states to reintroduce a series of entry restrictions for foreign arrivals.
In Maharashtra, for example, all international travelers must provide their travel history for the past 14 days before boarding a flight to any of the cities in the state.
Passengers traveling from countries at risk will be served at separate counters. Institutional quarantine and RT-PCR tests are mandatory.
However, they will be allowed to board connecting flights if they test negative for COVID-19.
Karnataka officials said all international travelers from “at risk” countries must undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test and isolate themselves for seven days.
The Delhi government has instructed all passengers coming from risky countries to observe a mandatory 7-day self-isolation. These travelers must also have a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to arrival in the state.
Other states such as Jammu, Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh have adopted similar approaches.
The government is following the ‘3T’ formula of testing, screening and treatment, according to Rajesh Tope, the state’s minister of public health.
“We are not thinking of any blockade in the state as of now,” he said.
“We must closely monitor the situation and take preventive measures, following the guidance of the center, the state task force and the chief minister.”