India To Ground Domestic Passenger Flights Over Coronavirus

Vehicles are stopped by policemen at a checkpoint at the Uttar Pradesh and Delhi border to inforce a lockdown order in some districts by Uttar Pradesh’s government as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Ghazipur on March 23, 2020. Prakash SINGH / AFP.

 

India will ground all domestic passenger flights from Wednesday to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, the government said, as more states ordered lockdowns.

India has already banned incoming international flights and sealed most of its land borders.

The government information bureau said only cargo flights will be allowed.

Domestic Indian carriers carried some 144 million passengers last year.

“Covid-19 pandemic is crippling the global economy and aviation including India’s once-booming aviation sector for years to come,” Devesh Agarwal, the editor of the Bangalore Aviation website, told AFP.

“This is not a short-term pandemic and the outlook for Indian aviation looks tragic. The aviation sector in India is decimated right now. This is similar worldwide.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Spain Death Toll Surpasses 2,000 After 462 Die In 24 Hours

International traffic to the financial capital Mumbai had also fallen more than 55 percent in the month of March amid the increasing flight restrictions,” a Mumbai Airport spokeswoman told AFP.

India has reported seven virus deaths from more than 400 cases, but infections have risen sharply in recent days.

Hundreds of millions of Indians were ordered locked down Sunday in the world’s second-most populous nation.

AFP

Anthonia Orji

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