“In the next day or two, we will find out if any additional steps need to be taken.”
There could be a short extension of the ban on flights from the UK until the government gets a “fuller picture” of the new strain confirmed from as many as six passengers who arrived in India last week, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Puri said on Tuesday.
“Once we have genome sequencing completed and a fuller extent of the picture, that will give us the confidence to open up flights again,” Mr Puri said at a press conference. The ban on Indian and British airlines providing services to the UK was imposed last week and is in force till December 31.
On whether there would be a similar ban on flights from other countries such as South Africa where the strain has been confirmed, the Minister said that the government was “monitoring” the situation.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to develop a safe corridor for transportation of COVID-19 vaccines once they are ready, said Secretary of Ministry Civil Aviation, P S Kharola.
“The movement of vaccines will be multi-modal. Airlines and airports have been alerted and we are working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on maintaining the vitality of the vaccine through temperature regulation. Stakeholders have to ensure that the integrity of the entire cold chain from the place of manufacture to the place of consumption,” he said.