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Flights from India suspended by UAE amid rising Coronavirus cases

DUBAI (AFP): The United Arab Emirates on Thursday decided to suspend all incoming flights from India, including transit passengers, as the country faces an unprecedented spike in coronavirus cases.

Some 300 flights a week were operating between the UAE and India before the ban was announced, according to local media, making the air corridor one of the busiest in the world.

“The decision to suspend flights came after studying and evaluating the epidemiological situation in the friendly Republic of India,” the General Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement carried on state news agency WAM.

The GCAA said that those coming from India through other countries must stay in that third destination for at least 14 days.

UAE nationals and passengers in private jets are exempt from that requirement.

Cargo flights between the two countries will continue after the ban, which comes into effect on April 25 for a period of 10 days “that can be extended”.

“This comes in response to the proactive precautionary and preventive health measures issued by all concerned authorities in the country to limit the spread” of the pandemic, WAM cited authorities as saying.

The UAE is home to some 3.3 million Indians who make up a third of the population — most of them in Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the federation.

India announced Thursday that nearly 315,000 new cases of coronavirus had been recorded during the past 24 hours, in the highest daily toll in the world.

New Delhi sent out warnings that patients could die if oxygen supplies in hospitals were not replenished.

The country´s long-underfunded healthcare system is being stretched to the limit by a devastating second wave of the pandemic blamed on a “double mutant” variant and “super-spreader” mass gatherings.