New Delhi: Scheduled international commercial passenger flights to and from India will continue to remain suspended till April 30, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in New Delhi said on Tuesday. International flights were suspended at the end of March last year as part of a lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The extension of the ban on regular flights came on a day when the government announced a major expansion next month of its nation-wide vaccination drive against coronavirus to cover everyone over the age of 45. So far, only those above 60 years of age were eligible for vaccination. Persons in the age group of 45-60 with co-morbidities were also eligible.
Simultaneously, the Ministry of Home Affairs here issued fresh guidelines for effective containment of COVID-19, which will remain in force up to April 30. The guidelines mandate the states to strictly enforce a three-pronged "Test, Track, Treat" protocol in all parts of the country and ensure COVID-19-appropriate behaviour by everyone.
The new guidelines have come as India recorded a surge in new cases of Coronavirus. In the previous 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reported 40,715 new COVID-19 infections, taking the cumulative total since the onset of infections to 11.69 million. Deaths rose by 199 in a day to total 160,166.
DGCA said special flights approved by designated authorities, flights for the evacuation of Indian citizens abroad and bilaterally negotiated "air bubbles" will be exempt from the continuing ban on international air traffic.