UK’s Heathrow Airport refuses more flights from India, gives reason
Extra flights from India have been disallowed by Britain’s Heathrow Airport before the country is added on Friday to Britain’s “red-list” of locations from which most travel is banned due to a high number of COVID-19 cases, the airport said on Wednesday.
This Britain’s decision comes after it detected more than 100 cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Monday.
“We’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the Red List. This means anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen cannot enter the UK if they’ve been in India in the previous 10 days,” Hancock had told parliament.
The refusal by Heathrow Airport’s to allow extra flights from India was reported earlier by the BBC, with the airport adding that it turned down the requests from airlines because of concerns about queues at passport control.
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The airport also told Reuters it did not want to exacerbate existing pressures at the border by allowing more passengers to fly in.
India now faces a coronavirus “storm” overwhelming its health system, the nation’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi disclosed in a national address on Tuesday, with the world’s second-most populous nation reporting 295,041 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday – the biggest daily rise reported in any country – stretching its hospitals to breaking point. India’s 2,023 deaths in one day were also its highest in the pandemic.
It was gathered that not less than 24 coronavirus patients died in western India on Wednesday when the oxygen supply to their ventilators ran out, amid a nationwide shortage of gas and a surge in infections.
Already, Health experts have indicated that India had let its guard down when the virus seemed to be under control during the winter, allowing big gatherings such as weddings and festivals.
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Even Prime Minister Modi is himself facing criticism for addressing packed political rallies for local elections and allowing a religious festival to go ahead where millions gathered.
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