NEW DELHI — India on Monday extended the existing restrictions for surveillance, containment, and caution against the COVID-19 pandemic by one more month until the end of January 2021.
“While there has been a continuous decline in the active and new COVID-19 cases, there is need to maintain surveillance, containment, and caution, keeping in view the surge in cases globally and the emergence of a new variant of the virus,” the Ministry of Home Affairs here said.
The ongoing restrictions, including a ban on scheduled international flights, was to expire on Dec.31. According to current practice, international air travel of passengers is only permitted by the interior ministry. This will now be enforced until the end of next month.
India currently permits inbound and outbound travel to 23 countries under “air bubbles,” which are temporary travel arrangements with these countries aimed at “restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the Ministry of Civil Aviation here.
These 23 destinations include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar in the Gulf. However, some GCC states announced one week ago that they were temporarily suspending all international passengers’ flights in view of the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus.
The interior ministry said on Monday that across India’s states and union territories, “containment zones continue to be demarcated carefully, prescribed containment measures strictly followed within these zones, COVID-appropriate behavior promoted and strictly enforced and Standard Operating Procedures prescribed in respect of various permitted activities followed scrupulously.”