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British Airways cabin crew ‘not turning up for flights to India’

Some British Airways cabin crew members are reportedly failing to show up to flights to India amid a devastating wave of coronavirus cases there.

The South Asian country has seen its health system buckle under the strain of a record-breaking wave of infections as it reported around 4,000 deaths each day for nearly two weeks as daily cases fell slightly on Friday to just over 326,000.

That number is still significantly higher than the then record-breaking 303,000 daily cases seen in the United States in January, as a new variant feared by UK government advisers to be up to 50 per cent more transmissible takes hold – with Britain’s health secretary Matt Hancock warning on Sunday it could “spread like wildfire” among the unvaccinated.

According to The Sun, British Airways has reportedly axed night stops in India in a bid to encourage cabin crew to fly there.

The airline’s bosses have been forced to write to frontline staff asking them not to stay away from work, the paper reports.

“If you do not feel comfortable operating these flights then please complete a form and you will be removed,” The Sun quotes the letter as saying.

It reported one anonymous staff member as saying: “Crew are scared of working on the flights”.

In a statement given to The Independent, the airline said: “The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority, and we follow and comply with all international regulations..”

India was placed on the government’s “red list” for travel on April, meaning that people arriving from the country are forced to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks upon entering the UK.

However, the prime minister is facing questions over his government’s timing in implementing the highest level of border restrictions with the country, with a four-day delay on the “red list” announcement coming into effect – on 23 April – falling at around the same time he was due to visit the country on a trade visit.

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