When it comes to responding to the global CoronaVirus crisis, I think India has had a graded and commensurate response to the entire situation.
First, we implemented Quarantine measures for arrivals from certain countries. Then, we suspended all the Visas and OCI travel to ensure that people from outside India cannot come to the country. Then, we shut down access for travel from Europe to India and put in Quarantine measures for those arriving via the Middle East. Also, arrivals from Malaysia, Afghanistan and Philipines were cancelled.
As a consequence, Indian carriers one by one have started to close their regional networks. IndiGo has vastly truncated its network, GoAir has suspended all international operation. Vistara has shut international operations too but will take a relook. SpiceJet is closing its international network too.
Now, the Government of India has decided to close the borders of the country to all airlines for a week for now. In a statement, the Government wrote,
No Scheduled International Commercial Passenger Aircraft shall be allowed to land in India from March 22, 2020 for one week.
This would mean, that while domestic Indian airlines will be grounding all their international operations for a week, also all other airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates, British Airways, Lufthansa and Qatar Airways which are still operating flights to India will not be able to operate flights to India anymore.
Here are the details of how this closure will work:
- No scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall take off from any foreign airport for any airport in India, after 0001 hrs GMT of March 22, 2020 (*i.e. 0531 hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) of March 22, 2020). These instructions shall remain in force till 0001 hrs GMT of March 29, 2020.
- A maximum travel time of 20 hours is permissible for such commercial passenger aircraft to land in India.
- As such, no incoming scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall be allowed to disembark its passengers *on Indian soil* (Foreigner or Indian) after 2001 hrs GMT of March 22, 2020 (*i.e. 0131 hrs IST of March 23, 2020).
India is not the only country to have closed its borders but is one of the many who have done so. If you need to leave India or arrive in India, you have about two days to make it in or out of the country. A lot of international flights are operating at the moment and no reason to worry.
What do you think about the latest move to close our borders?