India bans flights from UK amid fears of new Covid variant spread

India is to ban arrivals from the UK. Credit: PA

By ITV News Producer Sanjay Jha in Delhi

India has banned all flights from the UK until the end of the year after the discovery of a new and more infectious variant of coronavirus in south-east England.

The ban will come into effect from midnight on Tuesday until December 31.

People arriving in India before then will be subject to a mandatory Covid test at the airport.

Indian minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said in a series of tweets that if any arrivals in India had the new Covid variant, it could pose a critical risk to people in the country.

"Those found positive on arrival should be sent for institutional quarantine set up by state/UT govts [union territories], in collaboration with the states/UTs concerned," Mr Puri said in a tweet.

Earlier on Monday the Indian government held an urgent meeting of experts over the new virus strain in UK.

After the meeting India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said the government is on alert about the new coronavirus strain in the United Kingdom.

He added there was no need to panic.