MIAMI – In the wake of the spread of a new COVID-19 variant in India, Sichuan Airlines (3U) halted all-cargo flights to/from the country for 15 days. The reason invoked is containment actions against imported cases.

As reported by Reuters, the flights involved are those serving six routes to India, namely – Xi’an (XIY) to New Delhi (DEL), XIY to Mumbai (BOM), Chengdu (CTU) to Chennai (MAA), Chongqing (CKG) to MAA, CTU to Bangalore (BLR), and CKG to DEL.

The temporary suspension of cargo flights brings about a serious problem for Indian health services struggling to get medical supplies, equipment, particularly oxygen concentrators.

Sichuan Airlines Airbus 320-200 B-6845 – Photo : Alberto Cucini/Airways

A Defense against Imported Cases

Sichuan Chuanhang Logistics Co. Ltd, part of 3U, explained in a letter to its sales agents that “in the face of sudden changes in the epidemic, it had decided to suspend the flights to reduce the number of imported cases, as cited by The Hindustan Times.

The stop is badly felt in India since China has, in the past days, offered its help to fight the spread of the pandemic notwithstanding the somewhat tense relationship between the two countries.

"We are ready to help India fight the virus…If Indian raises specific demands, China is ready to provide help and support to the best of its capability." Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Click To Tweet

According to The Times of India, during a press briefing, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson stated that China had been following closely the epidemic situation in India and that the Asian country was ready to provide help and support if asked by India.

Featured image: Sichuan Airlines Airbus 350-900 B-301D Panda Livery – Photo : Luca Flores/Airways