West Bengal Suspends Direct Flights From UK To Kolkata From Jan 3 As Omicron Cases Rise

New Delhi: In view of the surge in Omicron cases across the world and the country, the West Bengal government has decided to temporarily suspend all direct flights coming from the United Kingdom to Kolkata from January 3 till further orders, said officials.

According to a statement issued by the government, all flights from ‘at-risk’ countries (notified by Government of India) will also not be allowed in the state.

The statement reads, “All passengers coming from non-risk countries will have to mandatorily undergo Covid test on arrival (Airline to select 10% of the total passengers for RT-PCR test and the remaining 90% to undergo RAT test on arrival).”

Meanwhile, fresh Covid-19 cases in West Bengal over the last 24 hours have crossed the 1,000-mark – first time in the last 177 days.

As per the latest data of the state health department, the number of fresh cases in Bengal is 1,089 with four districts, including Kolkata, Howrah and North and South 24 Parganas recording more than 80% of infections.

According to the data, of 1,089 cases, 540 were reported in Kolkata, 145 in North 24 Parganas, 79 in South 24 Parganas and 60 in Howrah over the last 24 hours.

The state also reported 12 fatalities in the time period, said the health department.

In addition to that, Bengal recorded 11 new Omicron cases so far of which five don’t have any travel history.

“This is even more alarming because if the people are infected by Omicron who don’t have any travel history, then there is a possibility of community spread. We are trying contact tracing to know the reason behind the spread,” a senior health department official said.

The state health department has been gearing up to meet the challenges of the possible third wave of Covid-19. In a notification, it has asked all concerned to step up Covid testing to at least 40,000 per day.

Health experts are of the opinion that fast spread of the virus is a major concern. According to them, around 30,000 to 35,000 people can get infected per day within a short span.