About three out of every four Indians are against a full-fledged reopening of international flights from later this month, as several countries are experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases, showed a survey by a social media platform.
The Localcircles survey received 12,618 responses from citizens residing in 294 districts. Of the respondents, 44% were from the country’s top cities. The survey was conducted after the government said regular international flights from India would resume on March 27.
Starting flights from international countries at a time when there is a strong surge in COVID cases in Europe and Asia could pose an imminent danger of a rise in cases of BA 2.2 variant in India.
The BA 2.2 variant has already reached India, with the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), which conducts genome sequencing of the coronavirus, reporting 3 such cases in Maharashtra, Puducherry and Ladakh.
Based on genome sequencing data, the predominant variant in India currently is BA.2 and globally experts suggest that BA.2 infection does not provide immunity from BA.2.2. The announcement was made after India’s Covid cases fell below 5,000 a day and test positivity came under 0.5%.
While several countries opened their skies after the scare over the Omicron-led Covid wave eased, those like Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Australia are seeing hospitalisations due to a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant.
About 25% of the respondents backed the resumption of commercial international flights from all countries as planned, according to the survey. Another 41% suggested starting commercial flights only with countries that have a TPR of less than 5%, while 14% put a TPR of under 2% as the condition.
About 18% sought postponement of the decision, while 2% did not have an opinion, according to Localcircles.
“On an aggregate basis, 73% of citizens are against restarting full schedule commercial international flights from March 27, 2022, in light of the BA.2.2 and related mutations,” it said in a news release.