Sounding out a warning note against the new strain of coronavirus that has emerged in the United Kingdom, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today asked the government to immediately ban all flights arriving from that country.
In a tweet posted today, Mr Keijriwal said, "New mutation of corona virus has emerged in UK, which is a super-spreader. I urge central govt to ban all flights from UK immediately."
On Sunday, Britain's health minister warned that a strict lockdown imposed on London and southeast England may last for months because the new strain was "out of control". Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that millions must cancel Christmas plans and stay at home from Sunday.
Scientists first discovered the new variant in a patient in September, Susan Hopkins of Public Health England told Sky News. In November, they found the new strain was behind a cluster of cases in Kent which spread into London and Essex and informed the government on December 11.
The Indian Health Ministry has called a meeting today of its joint monitoring group on COVID-19 to discuss a mutant coronavirus that has spread rapidly in the UK, government sources have said.
"The government is alert. There is no need to panic," Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Monday, according to ANI.
No policy decision has been taken by India on any flight ban from the UK but the matter will be given a serious consideration, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
European countries - and some beyond the continent - are restricting travel from the UK amid mounting fears over the new infectious strain.
Austria, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France and the Netherlands announced bans Sunday, with others expected to follow. Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have also temporarily suspended flights departing from or arriving in the UK.