Dubai: Kuwait on Saturday suspended all direct commercial flights coming from India until further notice due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.

The move came after instructions from health authorities. Kuwait's directorate general of civil aviation said that it had suspended all direct commercial flights coming from India, effective April 24.

All passengers arriving from India either directly or via another country will be banned from entering unless they have spent at least 14 days out of India, it said in a statement on Twitter.

Kuwaiti citizens, their first degree relatives and their domestic workers will be allowed to enter the country. Operations of freight flights will continue, it said.

Over one million Indian community members live in Kuwait, the largest expatriate community in the country, according to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait.

Earlier, the UK, the UAE and Canada announced ban flights from India amid the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.

A record single-day rise of 3,46,786 coronavirus cases pushed India's tally of infection to 1,66,10,481, while active cases crossed the 25-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the UAE on Friday updated its travel ban for India, saying that all incoming flights on national and foreign carriers from the country will be suspended, while transportation of passengers from the Gulf country to India will be allowed.

The UAE on Thursday banned travel from India for 10 days from Sunday due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.

The UAE's General Authority of Civil Aviation and the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) announced an update on regulations with the clarification that entry from India will be suspended for all incoming flights on national and foreign carriers.

According to a statement released, this will also apply to those carrying transit passengers, except for transit flights coming to the UAE and heading onward to India.

This decision includes the entry of travellers who were in India in the last 14 days prior to coming to the UAE, the statement said.

The statement, however, said that the flights between the two countries will continue to operate allowing the transportation of passengers from the UAE to India.

It will also allow the transfer of exempted groups from India to the UAE with the application of the aforementioned precautionary measures. These groups include UAE citizens, diplomatic missions appointed by the two countries, official delegations and those holding golden residency, it said.

The exemptions will apply provided they undertake preventive measures that include quarantine for 10 days and a PCR test at the airport, as well as on the fourth and eighth days following the entry into the country.

The required PCR test period has also been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours prior to travel from accredited laboratories that issue test results carrying a QR code.

The authority also confirmed that it is required for those coming from India through other countries to stay in those countries for at least 14 days before being allowed to enter the country, starting from 23:59 on Saturday, April 24, 2021, said the statement.

These regulations will apply for a period of 10 days, which can be extended, while cargo flights continue to operate between the two countries.

The authority called upon all travellers affected by the decision to follow up with the relevant airlines to change or reschedule their flights and to ensure their safe return to their final destinations without delay.

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New Delhi, May 16: The Centre directed Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on Sunday to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga and its tributaries, and focus on their safe disposal and a dignified cremation after corpses were seen floating in these rivers following a spurt in the number of coronavirus cases.

At a review meeting conducted on May 15-16, the Centre said dumping of dead bodies and partially burnt or decomposed corpses in the Ganga and its tributaries has recently been reported, which is "most undesirable and alarming".

"Namami Gange directs states to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga and focus on their safe disposal and providing support for ensuring dignified cremation," the Jal Shakti Ministry said.

The state pollution control boards were directed to monitor the water quality more frequently in consultations with the health departments.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was assigned the task of overall monitoring, providing guidance to the state pollution control boards and taking up advanced analysis in the matter.

Support for cremation needs to be given top priority. Effective implementation of the government orders needs to be ensured. No loss of time should take place in implementation, the ministry said.

An advisory was issued by Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, to the district magistrates, who are also the chairpersons of the district Ganga committees, on May 11.

This was followed up by a letter the next day to the chief secretaries to prevent the dumping of dead bodies in the river and ensure enforcement of the government guidelines on the cremation of COVID-19 victims.

The letter also advised the states to provide financial assistance as well as regulate the rates for the cremation or burial process.

On May 15, the steps taken in this regard in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were reviewed at a meeting chaired Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, and further action points were decided.

Highlighting the instructions already given, Kumar had called for expeditious action and underscored the need to give equal attention to such incidents in urban and rural areas along the Ganga and other rivers.

"Stopping of dumping of dead bodies as well as their safe disposal and protection of water quality have to be ensured on a war footing. After knowing the progress from the states, the CWC (Central Water Commission), the CPCB and the state pollution control boards would also be giving their feedback and action plans," he had said.

Mishra stated that the situation is being monitored and follow-up action is being taken in several districts such as Unnao, Kanpur rural, Ghazipur and Balia in Uttar Pradesh and Buxar and Saran in Bihar.

However, some cases have also been reported from other districts. He asked the state missions to keep an eye on the situation.

Mishra emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement, maintain vigil and take proactive action to facilitate and support the families for the cremation of the bodies and asked the state missions to specifically report on this.

"If needed, the project directors can assess and also give support to the district Ganga committees for this out of the NMCG funds available with them, while keeping the NMCG informed," he said.

Rajnish Dubey, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development, and Anurag Shrivastav, Principal Secretary, Jal Shakti and Project Director, State Ganga Mission, represented Uttar Pradesh in the meeting.

Shrivastava said all the district magistrates have been alerted about the issue and patrolling is being carried out to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga.

He also informed that 13 crematoria under Namami Gange, in addition to the existing ones, have been made available for the cremation of dead bodies.

It was informed that orders have been issued for financial support for cremations in urban areas. Dubey said similar orders for a financial support of Rs 5,000 have been issued by the Panchayati Raj department for rural areas and the SDRF and other forces have also been asked to carry out patrolling.

Anand Kishore, Principal Secretary, Urban Development and Project Director, State Ganga Mission, Government of Bihar, informed that it has been decided that the cremation or burial expenses of those dying due to COVID-19 will be borne by the state government.

He added that even if the deceased did not have a COVID-positive report but showed symptoms of the disease, the family will be offered this support.

He also said patrolling is being done to prevent further dumping of dead bodies in the river, especially in districts like Buxar and Saran (Chhapra).

CWC Chairman S K Halder informed that they are monitoring the flow and the water quality of the river through their stations and will further increase the frequency.

CPCB Member Secretary Prashant Gargava said the board has forewarned all water monitoring stations along the Ganga and her tributaries. The periodicity of testing the water quality has also been increased.

Debashree Mukherjee, Additional Secretary with the Jal Shakti Ministry, stated that besides an urgent assessment of the risks to the riverside communities by the pollution control boards, there is a need to raise awareness on the dos and don'ts as regards the use of river water and to prevent such incidents of dumping of bodies in the river.