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India extends travel ban on fights from UK amid new virus strain

India, Dec 30: India on Wednesday extended the ban on flights from the United Kingdom till 7 January next year, following the detection of cases of the new corona virus strain in the country.

The development came after 20 people, who have returned from the UK to India, have tested positive for the new Covid-19 variant, which is 20% more infectious. On Tuesday, it was reported that six UK returnees tested positive for the new Covid-19 strain.

Taking to Twitter, Hardeep Singh Puri, civil aviation minister said, “Decision has been taken to extend the temporary suspension of flights to & from the UK till 7 January 2021.”

“Thereafter strictly regulated resumption will take place for which details will be announced shortly,” Puri wrote on Twitter.

The Union Health Ministry has said that all the international passengers who arrived in India during last 14 days before the travel ban to UK and were tested positive for Covid-19, will be subjected to genome sequencing.

The Centre also clarified that the genome sequencing of the symptomatic or positive passengers will be done for those who travelled in the country from 9 December to 22 December, 2020.

While the new UK virus strain is believed to 70% more transmissible than the older strain, scientists have said it is less lethal. The new coronavirus variant has also been found to affect people in the age group of 30-60 years.

However, experts have suggested that the Covid-19 vaccines currently in development will be effective against the new strain as well.

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