Today, Wednesday, the Ministry of the Interior announced that the ban on regular international flights to India has been extended until the end of December, when the ban was scheduled to end on November 30.
"New surveillance, containment and caution guidelines" against the spread of Covid-19 said that "international air travel for passengers only as permitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs" will take off in the sky for the duration of the next month.
This means repatriation flights for Indian citizens and foreigners in both directions and some special international flights authorized by the Ministry of Home Affairs. India suspended all flights at the end of March, but domestic flights were resumed in phases on May 25.
However, scheduled international flights remained suspended except for those subject to "bubble arrangements," which are travel corridors negotiated with individual countries.
The new guidelines allow countries to impose domestic restrictions as required, including night curfews to help fight the pandemic. State governments would also be allowed to restrict the number of people at social events to less than 100 and impose fines on people for not wearing masks in public.
However, the complete closure will require consultation with and prior permission from the Ministry of Interior. Countries cannot close their borders. "There will be no restrictions on the movement of people and goods between and within countries, including those designated for trade across land borders by virtue of treaties with neighboring countries."
State governments are being advised to consider implementing staggered office hours in cities to prevent congestion and heavy vehicle traffic, adding to pollution. The new guidelines were released a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a virtual meeting with heads of states with high rates of Covid-19 infection.