Amid the threat of the mutant strain of coronavirus, an Air India flight from the UK is expected to land in Delhi shortly with 256 onboard.
This is the first flight from the UK after the services were suspended between the two nations on December 23 over the new and more contagious strain of the virus.
Flight services between the two countries restarted on Wednesday.
30 flights will operate every week – 15 each by Indian and UK carriers. This will stand till 23 January, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri has said.
The number of people who have tested positive for the new UK variant has climbed to 73.
However, the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had urged the centre to extend the ban till 31st January.
“The Centre has decided to lift the ban and start UK flights. In view of the extremely serious situation in UK, I would urge central government to extend the ban till January 31,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.
“With great difficulty, people have brought COVID situation in control. UK’s COVID situation is very serious. Now, why lift ban and expose our people to risk?” he added.
Nearly 56 million people in England returned to a full coronavirus lockdown, possibly until mid-February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.
The measures, which include the closure of primary and secondary schools, will come into effect Wednesday, he said in a televised address, after Scotland announced similar measures would come into force from midnight (0000 GMT) on Tuesday.