International flights won't resume on Dec 15, Union govt to announce new dates

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that it is watching the global scenario ‘closely’ in light of the Omicron variant.
Passengers seated in a flight
Passengers seated in a flight
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Amid concerns of the spread of the new ‘Omicron’ variant of the coronavirus, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday, December 1, decided to postpone the resumption of scheduled international flights from December 15 citing the "evolving global scenario".

In a circular, the DGCA said, “In view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new Variants of Concern, the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders and an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course.”  Earlier, the Civil Aviation Ministry had said that all scheduled international flights to and from India would resume on December 15. Scheduled flights had been suspended since March 2020, but special international passenger flights were operating since July last year, under air bubble arrangements with 28 other countries.

Earlier, the Union Health Ministry had issued new guidelines for international arrivals, in the wake of the Omicron variant. The government said that they will have to upload their 14-day travel history and a valid negative RT-PCR test report on the Air Suvidha portal before embarking on their journey to India. The RT-PCR test report should not be more than 72 hours old, according to a statement issued by the Ministry.

Further, passengers from countries considered to be ‘at-risk’ will have to undergo testing on arrival, and if they test positive, will have to undergo institutional quarantine. Their samples will also be sent for genome sequencing. But if they test negative, they will have to undergo home quarantine and re-test after seven days.

India has placed countries including South Africa, China, the United Kingdom, European countries, Bangladesh, Brazil, Botswana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Singapore and Israel under the ‘at-risk’ category.

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