Corona deaths in UK cross 1,000, a critical moment:

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Boris Johnson India extends ban on UK flights till Jan 7, Pakistan Jan 4

Nation special report

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the United Kingdom is at a “critical moment” in the fight against COVID-19 as the single-day rise to the country’s death toll neared 1,000 on Wednesday, the largest increase since April. And in view of this serious situation, India has extended India hasextended ban on UK flights till Jan 7, whereas Pakistan has fixed Jan 4 but an extension is widely possible.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said at a press briefing; “Yesterday, sadly, we recorded almost 1,000 deaths across the UK for the first time since April. So at this critical moment, with the prospect of freedom within reach, we’ve got to redouble our efforts to contain the virus.”.

Earlier in the day, the UK Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that 981 people had died due to coronavirus disease-related complications over the preceding 24 hours, the largest single-day increase since the end of April.

The UK also registered 50,023 new positive tests for the coronavirus disease over the past day, health officials said, as the country battles a surge in cases linked to the discovery of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 that is believed to be more transmissible …

Boris Johnson

During the press conference, Johnson said that the government would follow a new immunization strategy, which would delay the administration of a second vaccine dose until 12 weeks after an individual has received their first shot. This scheme, the prime minister said, would give more people the protection offered by a single dose of the vaccine.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency on Wednesday morning issued emergency use approval for a vaccine against COVID-19 produced by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, the second such vaccine to be cleared for use in the country.

The UK has already begun vaccinating elderly and at-risk individuals with a vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech after the regulatory body issued emergency use approval in early December.

India extends ban

A decision has been taken to extend the temporary suspension of flights to and from the United Kingdom till 7 January 2021, informed Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday. The government has imposed a ban on flights coming to India from the UK with effect from December 22 in the view of new strain of COVID-19 detected in the UK.

According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, a total of 20 persons have been found in the country with the mutant variant of SARS- CoV-2 virus reported from the UK.

Meanwhile, the Government of India extended the suspension of scheduled commercial international flights till Jan 31, 2021 in the wake of COVID-19. However, restrictions shall not to apply on special flights and international air cargo operations approved by the Director General of Civil Aviation. (Agencies)