UAE suspends all flights from India due to coronavirus surge

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The United Arab Emirates has suspended all incoming flights from India of national and foreign carriers due to a surge in coronavirus infections there, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) announced on Thursday.

Flights transiting through the UAE and bound for India will continue, NCEMA said on Twitter.

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The GCAA said that those coming from India through other countries must stay in that third destination for at least 14 days.

UAE nationals and passengers in private jets are exempt from that requirement.

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According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the GCAA affirmed that nationals of the UAE and diplomatic missions between the two countries, official delegations, businessmen’s planes and golden residence holders are excluded from this decision, provided that they take preventive measures that include a 10-day quarantine and a PCR test at the airport as well as another test on the fourth and eighth days of entering the country.

According to the decision, the period of PCR test has been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours, and tests issued by accredited laboratories bearing the QR Code will be accepted.

This comes in response to the proactive precautionary and preventive health measures issued by all concerned authorities in the country to limit the spread of the COVID pandemic-19, the statement added.

The GCAA said, “The decision to suspend flights came after studying and evaluating the epidemiological situation in the friendly Republic of India and within the framework of continuous coordination and cooperation with all relevant authorities inside and outside the country that continuously monitor developments in the situation to maintain the security and safety of civil aviation.”

The authority called on all travelers affected by the decision to follow up and communicate with the airlines to amend and schedule their flights and to ensure their safe return to their final destinations without any delay or other obligations.

The air corridor between Indian and the UAE is one of the busiest in the world, with some 300 flights a week operating on the route before the ban was announced, according to local media.

India on Thursday recorded the world’s highest daily tally of 314,835 COVID-19 infections as a second wave of the pandemic raised new fears about the ability of the country's health services to cope.

Health officials across northern and western India, including the capital, New Delhi, said they were in crisis, with most hospitals full and running out of oxygen.

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