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05 Apr 2020 | 12:21 AM UTC

India: British government announces repatriation flights April 5 /update 17

UK government announces repatriation flights for British nationals in India from April 8-11; nationwide lockdown remains in effect

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Event

On Sunday, April 5, the British government announced that a worldwide partnership with airlines has occurred to repatriate British nationals currently stranded in India as a result of the ongoing global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Special charter flights from India to the UK, organized by the government, will begin on Wednesday, April 8. Individuals wishing to utilize the repatriation flights should follow the below links:

Reports further state that British nationals currently exhibiting coronavirus symptoms will not be permitted to book and will be required to self-isolate before booking onto a later flight. Due to the current travel restrictions in India, it is only possible to book the above flights if the individual is already in the state of the departure airport.

A 21-day nationwide locked down that came into effect on March 24 remains in place. During the lockdown, only essential services will remain operational. All shops, offices, markets, and places of worship are closed and interstate bus and metro service is suspended. A ban on international commercial passenger flights is also ongoing until at least 23:59 (local time) Tuesday, April 14. The Indian Directorate-General of Civil Aviation also confirmed on Thursday, March 26, that cargo operations and flights with prior approval will be exempt from the restrictions.

As of April 5, 3588 cases of COVID-19 and 99 associated fatalities have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.