India has extended the suspension of all scheduled international commercial passenger flights till Dec. 31, an official order stated on Thursday.

The order came as the country recorded nearly 45,000 new infections and 524 deaths on Thursday, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 9.26 million and the death toll to 135,223.

Earlier, the authorities had ordered the suspension of the international flight operations until Nov. 30.

The new order issued by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday morning said: “In partial modification of circular dated 26-06-2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding Scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hrs IST [1829GMT] of 31st December 2020.”

The DGCA, however, said: “This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA” and “…international Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.”

India is currently operating international flights through arrangements with different countries.

While there is an overall decline in the new daily cases – less than 50,000 daily new patients for over two weeks now – several states are now reporting higher cases as compared to the cases reported in the beginning of this month.

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