Bengaluru: In a bid to strengthen the battle against coronavirus, domestic flights in India will stop at midnight Tuesday, as authorities strengthen a lockdown that has shuttered large parts of the country.

The airlines will have to stop flying from 12 am on Wednesday and should make sure and plan such that they will land domestic passenger flights at destinations by 11.59 pm on Tuesday, said the aviation ministry on Monday. However, cargo flights would be allowed to fly.

India has 415 coronavirus cases and eight deaths so far, but health experts have warned that a big jump could be imminent, which would overwhelm the underfunded and crumbling public health infrastructure.

According to Reuters report last week, India is planning a rescue package worth as much as $1.6 billion for the aviation sector, which has been battered after the coronavirus outbreak forced countries to close borders and brought air travel to a near-halt.

Governments the world over are scrambling to rescue airlines that have been forced to park planes and cut jobs as the virus puts the brakes on travel. Airlines may need a bailout of more than $200 billion, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates.