Rwanda’s national carrier RwandAir has suspended its flights to Mumbai, India, effective May 1, following the unprecedented surge in the Asian country’s coronavirus cases.
“Due to the increase in Covid-19 cases across India, RwandAir announces the suspension of its flights to Mumbai effective May 1, 2021, until further notice,” a statement issued by RwandAir reads.
“Affected customers can rebook and fly at a later date, once flights resume, at no additional cost. They can request for a travel voucher or a refund as well.
“RwandAir apologises for the inconveniences caused.”
The airline joins a growing list of African Airlines that have suspended flights to India, among them Kenya Airways (KQ) and Uganda Airlines.
India has reported more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases for a 12th straight day, taking its overall caseload to just shy of 20 million, while deaths rose by 3,417.
With 368,147 new cases over the past 24 hours, India's total infections stand at 19.93 million, while total fatalities are 218,959, according to Health ministry data.
On Sunday, the country reported the highest number of deaths since the start of the pandemic with 3,689 people dying. Some 392,488 infections were recorded during the previous 24 hours.
Medical experts say real numbers across the country of 1.35 billion may be five to 10 times higher than the official tally.
This has driven various airlines to suspend flights to the country.
Although the number of people travelling to India from Rwanda had considerably reduced, the temporary suspension of flights to the country will affect others, especially those travelling for medical purposes.
Due to its sound health system, the populous Asian country has positioned itself as a medical tourism destination, with Rwanda being one of the countries whose citizens have been increasingly travelling to India for treatment.
Seema Malhotra, an official at the Indian High Commission in Rwanda said although they continue to give medical visas to those travelling to India, they are only giving visas to those on medical emergencies.
“We are not stopping anyone from travelling there but I would recommend to people not to go to India now; the situation is not good at all. They should take the trip after one or two months at least,” she said.
In February, RwandAir’s suspended all flights to southern African countries as a new coronavirus variant hit the region.