Quarantine kicks in
Travellers leave India ahead of 4am UK deadline
Airports were busy with arrivals from India
British airports were last night handling a last-minute rush of travellers from Covid-hit India before today’s 4am ‘red list’ quarantine deadline kicked in.
The last chartered flight from India landed at Heathrow at 7pm last night while the super-rich hired $10,000-an-hour private jets for the 12-hour, 6,000-mile trip, to get to the UK, according to MailOnline.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled a trip to India on Monday as the country struggles to cope with a dramatic surge in cases.
Scotland-based online travel agent Skyscanner said searches for flights to Britain from India have increased by more than 250% this week, while travel agents say that a standard £400 economy ticket has soared to £2,000 due to a shortage of seats on planes.
Most Britons trying to return were said to be in India on emergency visas for family funerals or weddings or on business. Universities warned that the travel ban has left 10,000 international students scrambling to return to UK campuses before tomorrow.
Yesterday India reported nearly 315,000 new cases of the virus and at least two hospitals in Delhi are running out of oxygen and ventilators.
Public Health England (PHE) confirmed on Thursday that a further 55 cases of the virus variant first identified in India – known as B.1.617 – were found in the UK in the latest week to 14 April.
PHE experts are currently unsure whether any of the mutations mean the variant can be transmitted more easily, is more deadly or can evade the effectiveness of vaccines or natural immunity.
Anyone arriving in England or Scotland from India will need to stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days and follow a strict coronavirus testing regime at their own expense.
There are no direct international flights from India into Wales or Northern Ireland.