India temporarily suspends Vande Bharat flights from UK over new virus strain – UKMALAYALEE

India temporarily suspends Vande Bharat flights from UK over new virus strain

Thursday 24 December 2020 10:49 PM UTC

NEW DELHI Dec 24: India has temporarily suspended its Vande Bharat flights from the United Kingdom due to the emergence of new strain of coronavirus, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said yesterday.

Speaking during the weekly virtual press conference, Anurag Srivastava, MEA Spokesperson, said that as many as 1,005 international flights have been operated under Phase 8 Plus of India’s Vande Bharat Mission, repatriating over 40 lakh people from 27 countries.

“Phase 8 Plus of this mission is currently operational since December 1. Under this phase 1,005 international flights have been operated from 27 countries facilitating an estimated 1.8 lakh people. In terms of numbers, as on December 22, more than 40 lakh people have been facilitated under the Vande Bharat Mission,” he said.

On the flights to and from UK, he said, “Due to emerging COVID-19 situation and the ensuing travel restrictions, there has been a temporary suspension of Vande Bharat flights from the UK.”

The Vande Bharat Mission started in early May to repatriate Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.

On December 20, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a new variant of coronavirus has been found in the UK. He had tweeted, “Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus, and the potential risk it poses, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned.” – PTI

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