India has postponed its decision to resume commercial international passenger flights from December 15, as had been initially planed, in the wake of the COVID-19 Omicron variant scare.

The country's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in a statement yesterday, said it is "watching the situation closely", and an appropriate decision on the effective date to resume such flights would be notified in due course.

Scheduled international flights have remained suspended in India since March last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the country has had special international flight arrangements with 31 countries since July last year.
The Omicron variant was first identified in Botswana and South Africa last week, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated it as a "variant of concern" (VOC).

The variant, which contains a wide set of mutations from the initial iteration of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has since been detected in more than 20 countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Australia, among others.

Many countries, including Malaysia, have imposed travel restrictions on South Africa and its surrounding countries, while some countries, including Japan, Israel, and Morocco, have banned foreign travelers altogether.

Very little is known about the Omicron variant so far, but initial reports have said that afflicted patients only display "extremely mild" symptoms, and do not require hospitalisation.

The global coronavirus infection and death tally has surpassed 263 million, and 5.24 million, respectively.

Source: Live Mint
Photo source: Business Today.In