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India extends int'l flight ban till Oct. 31 as part of pandemic restrictions

Decision comes although country sees its lowest rise in COVID-19 infections in more than 6 months on Tuesday

Ahmad Adil   | 28.09.2021
India extends int'l flight ban till Oct. 31 as part of pandemic restrictions

NEW DELHI

India on Tuesday extended the suspension of all scheduled international commercial passenger flights till Oct. 31, despite the lowest rise in COVID-19 cases since March.

According to an official notification by India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation, “this restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved,” while "international Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.”

The decision came although the country reported its lowest rise in COVID-19 infections over the last six months.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, single-day fatalities were also lower than 200 for the first time since late March, the Health Ministry data showed.

A total of 18,795 new infections -- the smallest rise since the middle of March -- pushed the overall count past 33.6 million, while 179 fatalities raised the death toll to 447,373.

“India reports daily new cases less than 20,000 after 201 days. Active cases account for less than 1% of total cases, currently at 0.87%, lowest since March 2020,” read a Health Ministry statement.

From a staggering peak of more than 400,000 cases and 4,500 deaths per day, India’s pandemic situation has gradually improved over the past few months, despite the modest pace of vaccinations in the country of some 1.4 billion people.

Numbers have steadily dropped in most parts of India, except the southern state of Kerala, which has gone from being a COVID-19 success story to one of the country’s worst-hit regions.

The latest figures show that more than 870.7 million vaccine doses have been administered in India, but the country’s health minister recently said just about 23% of the adult population has been fully vaccinated, while around 66% has been given at least one dose.

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