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Covid-19: No decision yet to stop flights coming from China to India

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that there has been no order issued to stop the flights coming to India via China

Workers in protective transport the body of a deceased patient in Beijing, China. (Bloomberg)

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Amid demand by Opposition parties to immediately stop all international flights from China, government sources said that there is no order issued by the central government to curb incoming flights from the country where a wave of Covid cases has been reported.

'We don't have any direct flights from China to India or from India to China but as of now, there is no such order issued to stop connecting flights to India which are arriving via China. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is an executing ministry, the final decision will come from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)," government sources told ANI.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to chair this afternoon a high-level meeting to review the Covid-19 situation and its related aspects in the county.

In the last six months, India reported four cases of the BF.7 Omicron sub-variant, which is driving China's current surge of infections.

According to the people aware of the matter, there are currently 10 different variants of Covid-19 in the country, with the latest being BF.7.

"Given the grave COVID-19 situation in China, the government must immediately ban all flights to and from China. Given the increase in the US, Japan, and South Korea as well as the potential for the emergence of a new lethal variant, India should think about restoring COVID-19 guidelines," Congress leader Manish Tiwari had tweeted.

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Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country and the preparedness of the public health system for surveillance, containment, and management of the pandemic.

He urged people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated against Covid-19. Also, after the meeting chaired by Mandaviya, Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, NITI Aayog said that "there is no change with regard to aviation as of now."

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday called on China to share the data requested by the world health body to better understand the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"We continue to call on China to share the data and conduct the studies we have requested, and which we continue to request. As I have said many times before, all hypotheses about the origins of this pandemic remain on the table," he added.

Tedros also expressed concern about the over the evolving situation in China, with increasing reports of severe disease.

"In order to make a comprehensive risk assessment of the situation on the ground, WHO needs more detailed information on disease severity, hospital admissions and requirements for intensive care units support," the WHO chief said. 

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