India suspends international flights till 31 December File Photo: Air India

India virtually shut itself against the world on Thursday when it extended the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services till December 31.

The aviation authorities said the extended suspension was because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

India is the second worst-hit country by the virus, after the United States.

It has recorded 9,266,705 infections and over 135,261 deaths, as at Thursday.

The extension of the suspended commercial flights was announced on Thursday by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

It did so in a notification titled ‘Travel and Visa restrictions related to COVID-19’.

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It 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 of 31St December, 2020.”

However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.

“For the past several months, India has been operating special flights under its “Vande Bharat Mission” in a bid to bring in Indian citizens from overseas, and also facilitate essential travel.