India Joins UK Red List Meaning Direct Flights Banned

India has officially joined the UK’s red list as of 04:00 AM BST, heavily restricting travel between the two countries. The ban comes as several other nations also restrict travel from India amid a surge of cases and possible new variants. Let’s find out more about the impact of these restrictions.

Air India 777-300ER
The UK is one of many major markets to ban travel from India in the last few weeks. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

In place

As of this morning, no travelers except British or Irish citizens or those with residence rights in the country can enter the UK. Those who can still travel must submit to a 10-day, £1,750 ($2,425) hotel quarantine. The ban extends to anyone who has been in India in the 10 days before arriving in the UK.

The decision to add India to the red list was made on 19th April, giving travelers just over three days to reach the UK before it came into force on the 23rd April. However, thousands were unable to reach the UK in time due to Heathrow and the government denying extra repatriation flights from India.

India Joins UK Red List Meaning Direct Flights Banned
Four airlines requested permission to stage extra flights from India ahead of the red list ban but were denied permission by Heathrow. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Data from Public Health England, according to the BBC, showed that 3,345 passengers arrived in the UK from India between 25th March and the 7th April. Of these travelers, 4.8% of them (161) later tested positive, raising fears of a new variant spreading in the UK.

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Not the only one

Yesterday, two popular destinations for India found themselves banned. The UAE imposed a 10-day ban on all travelers from India entering the country, with some exceptions. The decision will have a huge impact on UAE aviation, given that India is the single largest market for airlines there.

Routes between the UAE and India had become some of the busiest international ones in the world last winter. There are 62 direct routes between India and the UAE offered by carriers in both countries, putting much at stake for airlines. However, given the current situation in India, flights are unlikely to resume in 10 days.

Emirates 777
10 airlines offer services between the UAE and India, including Emirates, IndiGo, Etihad, and Air India. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Canada also announced a ban on travelers from India for 30 days last night, in another blow to long-haul airlines. The ban went into effect from 11:30 PM local time yesterday, which means no more passengers can enter for now.

New Zealand had already canceled flights from India at the start of April due to rising cases. Australia has also decided to cut flights from India by a third due to rising cases in its hotel quarantine system. Oman also banned the entry of travelers from India from 24th April onwards, according to Hindustan Times.

Situation worsens

The decision to issue travel bans comes as India tackles the largest COVID-19 wave in the world. The country saw 332,530 cases on Thursday, the highest daily toll for any country in the world ever. Moreover, fears of a new variant that is more dangerous has also pushed countries to ban travel. For now, don’t expect restrictions to be eased any time soon.

What do you think about the decision to ban travel from India? Let us know in the comments!