‘London to Mumbai Amid New COVID Strain: Here’s How I Did It’
An international student studying in London chronicles his journey back home.
Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Pandemic and lockdown – the two words that have created havoc in 2020, and my life is no different. As an Indian student living in the United Kingdom, I have been facing tougher restrictions after the imposition of a nationwide lockdown. An ‘Incident Emergency’ has been declared in the wake of a new strain of coronavirus.
I was already tensed about increasing cases in December 2020 and then, India temporarily banned flights to and from the UK. I had to cancel my tickets twice.
Nervousness and homesickness, a flip side of studying away from home, had seeped in my mind in a more troublesome way.
When flights finally resumed on 8 January 2021, passengers were allowed to fly with some SOP(s) to be followed.
I booked my flight to Mumbai on 11 January. The SOPs state that every passenger travelling from the UK to India will have to mandatorily carry a negative RT-PCR test report and go through a thermal screening before boarding the flight. Luckily, I tested negative.
There was a lack in coordination between Air India authorities and lots of questions about quarantine rules on arrival, but I finally managed to board the flight after taking necessary precautions and within 8 hours, I was in my motherland.
I had to catch my connecting flight to my hometown Nagpur, but I got to know that people from Maharashtra need to quarantine in Mumbai itself, while those from out of Maharashtra were allowed to board the connecting flight.
I was told by the airline that you will be allowed to proceed to Nagpur, but the opposite happened.
Finally, after a long 8-hour flight and 6 hours at the airport, completing procedures like immigration, bag collection, customs, and hotel selection for quarantine, I was taken to my respective hotel in a BEST bus.
If you are arriving in Mumbai, the RT-PCR test will be conducted on 7th day of quarantine at your hotel and if found negative, you will be discharged and advised for 7 days home quarantine.
Though these things are an added financial burden and inconvenience, there were no such hiccups about my travel, except the lack of coordination between airlines and the government about quarantine rules.
Procedures were smooth and seamless at Mumbai Airport otherwise and I would like to thank the authorities and the BMC for the safe commute.
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