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India extends Covid restrictions until end of January

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Ongoing restrictions, including a ban on scheduled international flights, was to expire on Dec. 31.

India today extended the existing restrictions for surveillance, containment and caution against the Covid-19 pandemic by one more month until the end of January 2021.

“While there has been a continuous decline in the active and new Covid-19 cases, there is need to maintain surveillance, containment and caution, keeping in view the surge in cases globally and emergence of a new variant of the virus,” the Ministry of Home Affairs here said.

The ongoing restrictions, including a ban on scheduled international flights, was to expire on December 31. According to current practice, international air travel of passengers is only as permitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs. This will now be enforced until the end of next month.

India currently permits inbound and outbound travel to 23 countries under “air bubbles,” which are temporary travel arrangements with these countries aimed at “restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” according to the Ministry of Civil Aviation here.

These 23 destinations include the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar in the Gulf. However, some GCC states announced one week ago that they were temporarily suspending all international passengers flights in view of the emergence of a new variant of Coronavirus.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said today that across India’s states and union territories, “containment Zones continue to be demarcated carefully, prescribed containment measures strictly followed within these zones, COVID-appropriate behaviour promoted and strictly enforced and Standard Operating Procedures prescribed in respect of various permitted activities followed scrupulously.”