Amid rising concerns over the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, five out of 266 passengers and crew members of a London to Delhi flight have tested positive for coronavirus, an official said on Tuesday.
"Five out of 266 passengers and crew members of a flight which arrived at Delhi airport from London last night have tested positive for COVID-19. Their samples have been sent to National Centre for Disease Control for research and they have been sent to the care centre," said a nodal officer for COVID-19.
This comes as flight services from the UK to India have been suspended till December 31 over the spread of a new strain of coronavirus in London and England.
Passengers arriving from the UK in Punjab were seen waiting in a long queue on Tuesday at the Amritsar airport to get themselves tested for COVID-19 in the wake of the new virus coronavirus strain. Scores of people waited outside Amritsar airport to receive their relatives who came from a flight from London.
"Authorities are asking passengers to undergo COVID-19 testing even if they were tested just before boarding the flight. They should be allowed to go home," said a relative of one of the passengers.
Deepak Bhatia, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Ajnala) said that the people arriving from London need to undergo an RT-PCR test which may take hours due to which the passengers will have to stay at the airport.
Furthermore, scores of passengers arriving from the UK in Mumbai on Tuesday morning have been sent for institutional quarantine in the wake of the new virus strain.
On December 20, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had informed the public that a new variant of the COVID-19 virus has been found in the country.
"Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus, and the potential risk it poses, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned," he had tweeted.