New Delhi:

Lufthansa said it will operate its 10 weekly flights between India and Germany via Bahrain instead of Dubai from Sunday due to recent restrictions imposed by the UAE government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The German airline said in a statement, ''This change was made due to new UAE regulations that restrict flights between India and Dubai for passengers who were transiting there up to now for operational reason.'' From May 16, all 10 weekly flights between Frankfurt in Germany and Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore in India will transit in Bahrain, it said.

Instead of operating non-stop flights between India and Germany, Lufthansa had been operating its 10 India flights via Dubai so that the flight crew need not do a layover in India. Currently, the cockpit crew change happens in the Gulf country instead of India.

Lufthansa Group runs Lufthansa airline as well as SWISS airline connecting India with Germany.

The group's decision has come at a time when India and its aviation sector has been badly hit by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the last few weeks, the number of domestic air passengers per day has come down from more than 2.2 lakh to around 75,000, according to the Civil Aviation Ministry's data.

Similarly, international air traffic has also been affected by the second wave of the pandemic.

Lufthansa Group said on Sunday its flights to India continue supporting urgent relief efforts for the country.

''They have been delivering tons of medical goods containing vaccines, respirators and oxygen concentrators with more to come,'' the airline's statement noted.

With 3.11 lakh fresh coronavirus infections, India saw the lowest rise in daily cases after a gap of 25 days, while the death toll rose to 2,70,284 with 4,077 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.

A total of 3,11,170 new cases were reported in a day, taking India's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,46,84,077. Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 last year. However, India has formed air bubble arrangements with around 27 countries, including Germany, since July last year to operate special international passenger flights under restrictions.