NEW DELHI

India announced on Wednesday plans to resume domestic commercial flights starting May 25.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Twitter: “Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from 25 May. All airports & air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25 May. SOPs [Standard operating procedures] for passenger movement also being separately issued by Ministry.”

All scheduled commercial passenger flights had been suspended in the country since March 25, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The third phase of the COVID-19 lockdown ended in India on May 17 and the fourth phase is to continue until May 31.

In a communication earlier this month, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) asked all airports to be prepared to manage flight operations.

“Once the lockdown period is declared to be over, airports shall be facilitating limited domestic/international scheduled flights in phases, to start with, may be at 30 per cent capacity to facilitate required social distancing,” said the AAI in a statement.

The body issued guidelines for the resumption of flights in which passengers would need to follow stringent social distancing norms such as maintaining at least four feet between passengers and mandatory wearing of face masks throughout the flight.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India reached 106,750 on Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health. The country reported its highest spike of 5,611 in the last 24 hours, while coronavirus-related deaths stand at 3,303.

India now has the 11th highest number of coronavirus infections.

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