World leaders are responding to a new strain of covid-19 that has been spreading across the U.K. and some European countries.
The strain appears to be 70 percent more infectious than the regular one.
Beginning on Dec. 22, India will ban all incoming flights from the UK. As of now, the ban will last through the end of the month.
India is one of more than two dozen countries to ban incoming travelers from the UK.
Along with nearby European countries, such as Germany and Spain, many others are participating in the ban. These include Canada, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation announced the upcoming ban a few days in advance to allow travelers time to return to India.
The final flight departs right before midnight on Dec. 22. Passengers will need to submit to a RT-PCR covid-19 test and undergo a quarantine period upon landing.
This limited flight window inspired a rush for tickets.
As thousands of people attempted to book flights to India, prices skyrocketed. Before selling out, economy tickets were going for more than $3,400 a seat.
The flights are now booked, leaving those without tickets no other choice but to look for alternative routes.
There are still options for connecting through countries that don’t have bans in place. However, with leaders implementing new bans all the time, these options may not last long.
Travel Bubbles might be the solution
Bubbles are agreements between two or more countries that have the virus relatively under control.
They allow travelers from either country to move between the two without having to deal with most covid-19 restrictions. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were the first to create such an agreement.
India has bubble agreements with many countries, including the United States, Japan, and Germany.
The UK was one of these countries before the most recent ban.
Time will tell whether India will ban incoming flights from other countries as the new strain of covid-19 continues to spread.