Rich flee India as country plunges into Covid chaos – 04/27/2021 – World

The growing crisis in India around the increase in coronavirus infections is pushing wealthy families to flee the country in private jets.

With reports of the lack of hospital beds and drugs taking over social media, Indian tycoons and others less wealthy but fearful for their health are booking flights to escape points in Europe, in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean.

“It’s not just the ultra-rich,” said Rajan Mehra, managing director of private jet company Club One Air in New Delhi. “Those who can afford it hire private jets.”

India reported 352,991 new coronavirus infections (26) on Monday, the highest daily number in the world since the start of the pandemic. With the country’s health infrastructure under intense pressure, Bollywood superstars have been seen escaping to destinations that include the Maldives, while at least three Australian cricketers have abandoned the Indian Premier League, the main tournament. Sport.

Foreign governments that have taken action to restrict travel from India as new cases of Covid-19 multiply have been partly prompted by the wealthy to leave the country.

Canada, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom are among the countries that have imposed restrictions, with others ready to announce similar measures. The Maldives will allow Indians to visit only a few tourist islands from this Tuesday (27), which has caused an accumulation of departures in the last hour.

“There was a huge increase for London and Dubai just before the restrictions were applied, and the Maldives too, before announcing the ban,” said Mehra, who was formerly India Operations Director at Qatar Airways.

A one-way jet flight from New Delhi to Dubai costs up to 1.5 million rupees (R $ 108,000) including tax, although operators also charge for the return trip if the plane is empty, Mehra said.

While private fares were already high, the price of plane tickets also rose, the CEO said, with an economy class one-way ticket to Dubai reaching $ 1,300, more than ten times the usual price.

“It shows how desperate people are to escape,” he said.

Translation by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves

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