Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said that he foresees a “short extension” of the suspension of flights from the United Kingdom to contain the spread of the new variant of coronavirus that was first detected in that country.

This comes a day after six people who had recently returned to India from the UK were found positive for the new mutant strain of the coronavirus.

“I foresee a short extension on this temporary suspension. I do not see the extension to be long or indefinite,” Puri said while addressing media at an annual press conference on Civil Aviation.

The government has imposed a ban on flights coming to India from the UK. All flights originating from the UK to India are suspended till December 31, 2020, with effect from December 22. Puri explained that the Ministry is monitoring developments in other countries too and will take further decisions accordingly.

“We had imposed temporary suspensions when we had eight to nine flights daily from the UK. The passengers who came in from the time of the announcement to the next day were subjected to compulsory quarantine at the point of arrival. Even those who tested negative were required to go in mandatory quarantine. We went one step further and we did contact tracing and genome sequencing of passengers from the UK who have come to India since November 25,” he said.