India has found six people who returned from the United Kingdom in recent weeks infected with a new variant of the coronavirus.
The health ministry in a statement on Tuesday said that all the six patients were isolated and their fellow travelers were tracked down. Close contacts of the infected patients were also put under quarantine.
India previously suspended flights from and to the UK until the end of the year, noting the new variant is “spreading and growing rapidly.”
India on Tuesday reported 16,432 new cases of the virus overall, taking its total to 10.22 million infections and 148,153 deaths. India is expected to start a vaccination drive for some 300 million people early next month.
Pakistan’s civil aviation authority, meanhwile, has extended its ban on passenger flights from the U.K for a week in an effort to avoid the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus.
The ban was imposed last week after European and other countries halted air travel from Britain due to a new and seemingly more contagious variant of the coronavirus in England.
In a statement, Civil Aviation Authority said the ban on passenger flights from U.K. will remain in place until Jan. 4.
Under a government order, Pakistani nationals who traveled to Britain are being allowed to return home provided their COVID-19 tests are negative.
On Tuesday, Pakistan reported 1,776 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 63 deaths in the past 24 hours.
There have been 9,992 deaths among 475,085 COVID-19 cases since February, when the first infection was detected in the country.