UK Heathrow Airport refuses to allow additional flights from India
UK Heathrow Airport refused to allow additional flights from India before the country was added Britain’s “Red List” Friday places from which most travel is banned due to a high number of COVID-19 cases, the airport said on Wednesday.
Britain’s move comes after it detected more than 100 cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Monday.
“We made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the Red List. This means that anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a UK citizen cannot enter the UK if they have been in India within the previous 10 days, ”Hancock had told parliament.
Heathrow Airport’s refusal to allow additional flights from India was reported earlier by the BBC, with the airport adding that it had refused the airlines’ requests due to concerns about the queues at passport control.
The airport also told Reuters it was unwilling to exacerbate existing pressures at the border by allowing more passengers to fly.
India is now facing a coronavirus ‘storm’ overwhelming its healthcare system, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a national speech on Tuesday, the second most populous country in the world reporting 295,041 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday – the most sharp daily increase reported in all countries – stretching its hospitals to breaking point. Read more
India’s 2,023 deaths in one day were also the highest in the pandemic. At least 24 COVID-19 patients in Maharashtra died on Wednesday when the oxygen supply to their ventilators ran out, amid a nationwide gas shortage and an increase in infections.