FLIGHTS from India are still landing in the UK, with around 1,000 passengers arriving today alone.
And since the Covid-stricken country was added to the travel red list, more than 110 planes departing from cities including Mumbai and Delhi have landed in Britain.
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Some seven per cent of passengers who arrived from India between April 22 and May 5 – or 4,258 people in total – were infectious, according to data from NHS England.
The country recently saw a horrifying rise in coronavirus cases, and has today set another record for daily Covid fatalities with 4,529 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Today, four direct flights from Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru will land at Heathrow alone.
Each is a 787 Dreamliner with capacity for 248 passengers.
In addition, three indirect flights from India with layovers in Frankfurt and Paris will also arrive at Heathrow.
And there'll also be indirect flights from Delhi and Bengaluru arriving at Manchester and Gatwick.
It comes as:
- The travel traffic lights plan is in chaos as one minister says ALL foreign holidays are ‘dangerous’ – while another says they are ‘essential’
- Wembley and Stamford Bridge could be used as mass Covid vaccination centres for over-18s in fight to beat India variant
- Big events without masks and social distancing are as safe as restaurants or shopping centres, Covid trials suggest
- Covid deaths have dropped by 98 per cent in over-60s since Brits began getting jabbed
- A one-second coronavirus spit test could slash waiting times and help the world reopen
India was not added to the red list until April 23 – almost a month after a worrying new variant first seen in the country was detected in the UK.
But planes have continued to arrive from India since the country was added to the list. More than 110 direct flights have landed in Britain since, LBC reports.
All travellers arriving from India must quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for ten days at a cost of £1,750 per person.
Boris Johnson, who will face MPs at Prime Minister's Questions today, is embroiled a growing row over the Government's handling of the crisis.
More than 20,000 passengers arrived from India as the PM delayed imposing a travel ban.
The super-infectious mutation of coronavirus first seen there is now in 40 per cent of local authorities in England.
Worryingly, it's also dominant in 23 areas.
The strain could be 50 per cent more transmissible than the Kent variant that swept the UK over the winter – and it's feared it may delay the final step in Mr Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown.
Although the PM has so far downplayed concerns that June 21 will be pushed back, he's admitted he's "anxious" about the spread of the mutation.
Meanwhile, Downing Street has refused to rule out the possibility of the tier system returning in a bid to crack down on the strain.
And this morning, Professor Neil Ferguson – whose predictions on the UK's potential number of Covid fatalities led to the first lockdown – told BBC Radio 4's Today even broader measures may yet be needed.
He said if the variant was widespread and highly transmissible, then locking down hotspot areas "may work in those areas, but just allows the rest of the country to reach a high infection level".
"We know what the consequences of that were last year," he warned.
"We're in a different situation now.
"We have high levels of vaccine coverage, so the real challenge for us as scientists and for the Government is to try and calculate – is that wall provided by vaccinations sufficient for us to keep the consequences of this Indian variant at a manageable level?"
Health chiefs are testing sewage in a bid to get early warnings on new hotspots for the strain.
TIERS 'MAY NOT BE ENOUGH'
So far, the variant is now the dominant virus in hotspots such as Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen.
Both Sefton and Bedford have been labelled as areas of concern, and figures show the variant accounts for eight in ten cases of hospital admissions.
This is also the case in Bolton, Blackburn, Chelmsford and Croydon.
Mr Hancock warned at the weekend it is likely to become the dominant strain in the UK, although there are positive signs existing vaccinations protect well against it.
Elsewhere, the PM is facing confusion and anger over countries classed as 'amber' for travel.
Since Monday, travelling abroad on holiday is no longer illegal, with a green list of countries allowing families to return to the UK without having to quarantine.
However, some MPs have warned that Brits shouldn't be travelling to countries on the amber list – which includes most of Europe such as Spain, Greece and Italy – while others have said all foreign holidays should be illegal.
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