Majority wants government to suspend flights from UK and South Africa: investigation

Almost two-thirds of the population want the government to suspend flights from the UK and South Africa as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has risen almost sharply in recent weeks, according to a investigation.

At the same time, 43% of those covered by the survey, conducted by the online platform LocalCircles, were in favor of suspending all international air services to contain the “ second wave ” of the pandemic, said he declared.

The survey results are based on responses received from more than 8,800 citizens in 244 districts nationwide, according to a statement.

Planned international operations have been suspended since the end of March last year. In this context, special international flights have been authorized within the framework of the Vande Bharat mission since May last year and within the framework of bilateral “air bubble” agreements with certain countries since July.

The direct lineage of the SARS-COV2 variants, particularly the UK and South Africa variants, has been detected in different parts of the country amid a rising trajectory in the number of active COVID cases -19 in the country, with more than 60,000 cases now reported daily, LocalCircles said.

This is a fivefold increase in the number of daily cases in 45 days, which was around 12,000 on February 12 of this year, he added.

The UK variant is estimated to have spread to more than 70 countries, while the South African variant is present in more than 30 countries, the statement said. Following this, LocalCircles asked citizens whether restrictions on international flights should now be implemented through an investigation, he added.

“Sixty-five percent of citizens (are) still in favor of suspending passenger arrivals from the UK and South Africa to limit the coronavirus variants, (while) 43% (are) in in favor of the suspension of all international arrivals for one month, “LocalCircles said in the statement with the results of the investigation.

There were also 32 percent of citizens who said “suspending flights is not the solution”, while 3 percent had no response, he added.

According to many citizens the damage is already done and the variants are at different stages in India mainly due to all the international arrivals in the past three months. However, at least closing flights now won’t lead to new infections and strains, LocalCircles said.

In fact, at the end of December, based on public comments, the platform escalated the risk of the mutant coronavirus to the government, urging that all flights from the UK and other high-risk countries are closed until the end of January. In the survey, at the time, 64 percent of citizens wanted international bubble flights closed with countries, especially the UK, having cases of the new strain.

The same has been done. However, the shutdown of UK flights resumed from January 8 after keeping them on hold for around two weeks, LocalCircles said.

With limited capacity to perform genomic testing, some 10,787 samples from 18 Indian states have so far shown 771 cases (736 British variant, 34 South African variant and 1 Brazilian variant), according to the release.

He said Punjab’s Chief Minister Amrinder Singh announced that 81% of cases found in his state based on genomic testing are of the British variant type. The Punjab has direct flights between the UK and Amritsar which were operated under the Vande Bharat program. he added.

“It was not only the Punjab that identified the existence of B.1.1.7 in 18 states. Maharashtra in search of largest increase on record with 35,000 cases per day; and in Delhi, the daily number of cases tripled from 500 to 1,500 in a matter of five days, ”LocalCircles said.

According to the platform, up to 60 percent of citizens in a related survey believed this new wave was due to variants. “Although the government has yet to accept this, B.1.1.7 is known to be 50-60 percent more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain. The strain also had a much greater impact on young people than the previous COVID. 19 strain, ”he says.

Although there is no vaccine for young people at least until the end of this year, India has gone through six crores of adult inoculations and vaccinates between 20 and 30 lakh citizens per day, according to the press release.

However, it will be the end of 2022 before all citizens of the country can be vaccinated, and “that is why this second wave of COVID-19 is of great concern to many,” he said.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)