Friday, June 25, 2021

Kuwait Bans All Commercial Flights with India

The region’s busiest international air hub, the UAE, earlier suspended flights to and from India from Sunday.

The decision stipulates a ‘ban of entry to Indian nationals to the country, namely those coming from the Republic for at least 14 days, and until further notice,” KUNA said.

India reported 346,786 coronavirus infections over the past day, bringing its caseload total past 16 million, behind only the United States.

“In view of the health situation, it has been decided to suspend direct commercial air links with India until further notice,” the Kuwaiti government also tweeted late Friday.

Kuwait residents would only be allowed to return via third countries if they stopped over for at least 14 days. Expatriate workers make up some 70 percent of Kuwait’s population and include hundreds of thousands of Indians.

As the clock ticked down to the shutdown of the air corridor between India and the UAE – one of the world’s busiest – fares soared as Indians who could afford it scrambled to escape the COVID surge.

Price comparison websites showed one-way commercial flights from Mumbai to Dubai on Friday and Saturday costing as much as 80,000 rupees ($1,000) – around 10 times the usual rate.

No tickets were on offer from Sunday when the 10-day flight suspension comes into force.

The UAE is home to roughly 3.3 million Indians who make up a third of the population – most of them in Dubai.

Beyond the Gulf, Canada suspended flights from both India and Pakistan for 30 days, while the US State Department urged Americans to avoid travel to India, even if they are vaccinated.

Concern has focused on one new strain of the virus in particular that has spread rapidly in India and has already been detected in Europe.

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