New Delhi, May 24
Indian skies will open up for domestic passenger flights from Monday after a gap of two months amid confusion over what quarantine rules may apply to the travellers but there will be minimum air services and delay in resumption in some states.
- Editorial: Ease of travel
Government officials said on Sunday night that the airports in Kolkata and Bagdogra in cyclone-hit West Bengal will not operate any domestic flight between May 25 and 27 but will handle 20 flights each per day from May 28.
The airports in Mumbai and Hyderabad will daily handle 50 and 30 flights, respectively, from Monday, they said. The Maharashtra Government had requested the Centre to keep the air services at the minimum possible level. All flights account for equal number of arrivals and departures, the officials added. Vijayawada and Vizag airports in Andhra Pradesh will not operate any domestic flight on Monday but services will begin from Tuesday, they said.
The revised schedule for resumption of airport operations followed reluctance by some states to deal with thousands of incoming passengers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bookings had opened for around 1,050 domestic flights planned for Monday, but the revised schedule has led to the cancellation of several flights leaving hundreds of passengers disappointed. The airlines were allowed to operate one-third of their capacity.
As India enters the last week of the thrice extended lockdown for 68 days, the resumption of domestic flights comes at a time when new Covid cases in the country crossed 6,000 for the third consecutive day on Sunday, surging to a record single day spike of 6,767 infections. The fourth phase of national lockdown to fight the pandemic is due to end on May 31. The Union Health Ministry, meanwhile, issued its own set of guidelines for domestic air, rail and road travel and also said states can also develop their own protocol with regards to quarantine and isolation as per their assessment. Passengers were also advised to download the contact tracing application Aarogya Setu on their mobile devices. The ministry while listing out its quarantine protocol among other steps suggested thermal screening at entry and exit points. — PTI
Punjab, TN, J&K insist on quarantine
- Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Bihar, Punjab, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and J&K were among the states which have announced their respective quarantine measures for passengers arriving at their airports.
- Punjab CM said all incoming passengers will be put in home quarantine for 14 days while Bihar government said travellers will be put on “paid quarantine” for 14 days.
No isolation, but app must: Delhi
Making Aarogya Setu app essential, the Delhi Government says the Centre’s norms will be followed for domestic travel. The asymptomatic passengers will be permitted to go with the advice that they will self-monitor their health for 14 days. Those found symptomatic will be isolated.
Norms for rail, bus, Air travel
- All passengers to download ‘Aarogya Setu’ app
- Thermal screening at departure, arrival
- Only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed
- Asymptomatic passengers will self-monitor for 14 days and report if they develop symptoms
- Symptomatics will be isolated at nearest health facility
- Those with moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated Covid health facilities
- Those with mild symptoms can isolate at home/Covid centre
- States can also develop their own protocol with regard to quarantine, isolation as per their assessment
For international arrivals
- Boarding passengers to give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days
- 7-day paid institutional quarantine at own cost followed by 7-day isolation at home with self-monitoring
- Thermal screening of all passengers on arrival
- Symptomatic ones will be isolated at a medical facility
- These passengers will remain in institutional quarantine for minimum 7 days and tested. If positive, they will be assessed clinically
- If mild, they will be allowed home isolation. Those with moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated Covid facilities
- If negative, passengers will be advised to further isolate themselves at home and self-monitor for seven days
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