Saturday, January 09, 2021

First flight from UK to land tomorrow in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: With the ban on flights from the UK to India being lifted on Friday, the first flight from London to Bengaluru is scheduled to land at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in the wee hours on Sunday.

However, while the Union government announced standard operating procedure (SOP) for returnees, the Karnataka health department is yet to announce guidelines for those landing in the state.

Sources at KIA said the first aircraft to land will be a British Airways flight from Heathrow, London, which is expected to touch down at the Bengaluru airport at 4am on Sunday. India had suspended all passenger flights to the UK from December 23 till January 7 after the new variant of Covid-19 reportedly emerged from there.

With flight operations resuming from Friday, the Union government had announced SOPs including mandatory Covid testing for all passengers at the port of landing. Passengers will have to pay for the tests. Besides, flyers will also have to carry a Covid negative certificate obtained 72 hours prior to the flight from UK.

Passengers who test negative have been ordered to stay in home quarantine for two weeks. Local health authorities are expected to monitor their health and ensure they do not break quarantine rules.

However, with the first flight from UK landing in Delhi on Friday, the Delhi state health authorities issued an SOP with seven-day mandatory paid institution quarantine for returnees. This led to anger and confusion among returnees who landed in the capital.

The Karnataka health department authorities are expected to release a fresh SOP on Saturday after consultation with experts, sources said.

The new strain was first recognised in the UK in September, but was confirmed through genomic sequencing only on December 12. Many European countries have the new lineage since travel curbs were announced only last week.

09/01/21 Times of India

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