Coronavirus outbreak: India bans air travel from UK, Europe till March 31

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Monday ordered suspension of all passenger traffic from Europe from Wednesday till March 31 to stop the spread of COVID-19. “Travel from member countries of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey, and the United Kingdom to India is prohibited with effect from March 18. The airline shall enforce this at the point of initial departure. Both these instructions are temporary measures and shall be in force till March 31 and will be reviewed subsequently,”  Deputy Director General Sunil Kumar said in a circular.

The order applies to both Indian and European airlines and also those from West Asia, which carry traffic via Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Doha. The government’s latest directions comes as deaths spike in European countries — Italy said 349 were dead on Monday, a day after reporting 368 deaths. The US government, too, suspended all passenger movement to and from the European Union.

At present, Air India is the only Indian carrier operating to Europe while IndiGo flies to Turkey. Currently,  Alitalia, Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Swiss, Turkish Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic are operating their flights to India, while Finnair and LOT Polish Airlines have suspended their schedules. 

Last week, India suspended most categories of existing visas and advised citizens against travelling abroad while various countries too have restricted travel and closed borders. The Mumbai police, too, has ordered tour operators from organising group tours.

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