New Delhi: In the wake of a new strain of coronavirus infection, the government on Wednesday further extended suspension of scheduled international passenger flights till January 31, 2021.

"Govt of India extends suspension of scheduled commercial international flights till 31 Jan, 2021," said the civil aviation regulator.

However, the restrictions will not be applicable on international air cargo operations and flights specially approved by DGCA.

"International scheduled flights may be allowed on select routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis," the DGCA had said.

India had earlier banned UK flights on December 23 till the 31st.

According to the health ministry, 20 people who returned to India from Britain have tested positive for the new UK variant genome of SARS-CoV-2 so far.

The Union health ministry said on Tuesday all international passengers who have arrived in India during the last 14 days - from December 9 to December 22 this year, if symptomatic and tested positive for the coronavirus disease will have to undergo genome sequencing.

All the infected people are now in isolation, the health ministry said in a statement, adding that their fellow travellers and close contacts are being traced and quarantined. Genome sequencing on other samples is currently going on.

India had suspended all flights from Britain last week until the end of the month as the new variant of the virus detected in the UK triggered widespread concern and travel restrictions across the world.