Kuwait and Iran restricted flights and passengers from India until further announcement as the country recorded its highest daily Covid deaths and some hospitals ran out of oxygen.
The region’s most hectic international air hub, the United Arab Emirates, had already announced on Thursday that it would suspend flights to and from India from Sunday.
“In view of the health situation, it has been decided to suspend direct commercial air links with India until further notice,” the Kuwaiti government tweeted late Friday.
If Kuwait’s residents are stopped over for at least 14 days, it would allow them to return to the emirate via third countries
Kuwait’s population consists of some 70 per cent of expatriate workers and hundreds of thousands of Indians.
On Saturday, the Iranian authorities said that they were suspending air arrivals from India and Pakistan.
“Flights to and from the two countries of India and Pakistan will be banned” from midnight, aviation authority spokesman Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.
“There are no scheduled flights between Iran and India. Nevertheless, accepting connecting passengers from the noted countries will be banned.”
As the clock ticked down to the shutdown of the air corridor between India and the UAE — one of the world’s busiest — fares rose as Indians who could afford it struggled to escape the Covid surge.
The flight charges are around 10 times the usual rate, one-way commercial flights from Mumbai to Dubai on Friday and Saturday costing as much as 80,000 rupees ($1,000).
No tickets were on offer from Sunday when the 10-day flight postponement comes into force.
The UAE is like a home to roughly 3.3 million Indians who make up a third of the population — most of them in Dubai.
After the Gulf, Canada suspended flights from both India and Pakistan for 30 days, while the US State Department urged Americans to avoid travel to India, even if they are vaccinated.
Attention has centred on one new strain of the virus in particular that has spread quickly in India and has already been detected in Europe.
Iran also announced that it was also suspending flights and passengers from India over the health crisis.