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India bans flights from UK over new virus strain fears

Passengers undergo temperature checks as a precaution against the coronavirus at Mumbai airport in March. (AP pic)

MUMBAI: India on Monday announced a suspension of all flights originating from the UK to the country until the end of the year, amid growing global concerns over a highly infectious new strain of the coronavirus.

The ban will come into effect on Wednesday and all passengers arriving from Britain before then will be tested on arrival at airports, India’s federal aviation ministry said in a series of tweets.

A number of European nations among others have shut off travel ties to Britain after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the new strain of the coronavirus was a danger to the country.

Britain is one of the 23 countries that India shares an “air bubble” with, as part of temporary bilateral arrangements after regular international flights were suspended after the pandemic hit.

Hours before the aviation ministry’s announcement, India’s health minister said that authorities remained vigilant and prepared to deal with the new virus strain, adding that there was no need to panic.

India has recorded the world’s second highest number of infections and breached the 10 million case milestone over the weekend.

More than 145,000 people have died from Covid-19.

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