Of the total number of passengers that have flown on domestic flights since resumption of services on May 25, around 1,500 have tested positive for coronavirus at their destinations, according to official data. However, data pertaining to how many air passengers were actually tested was not centrally available.
According to the Airports Authority of India data, around 45 lakh domestic passengers were recorded at Indian airports between May 25 and June 30.
The numbers, however, may not tell the full story, given that many of the jurisdictions like Punjab, Uttarakhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh are only testing passengers at airports on a random basis, while several others like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, West Bengal are testing only symptomatic passengers.
It is noteworthy that the initial few cases, where flying passengers were found positive for the coronavirus upon reaching their destinations, were in fact asymptomatic.
“It is difficult to maintain a central database of how many people have been tested so far at airports because the rules for testing are not the same in every state. Some states are testing at random, while some are testing compulsorily for passengers arriving from some other states,” a senior government official told The Indian Express.
Only a few jurisdictions such as Jammu & Kashmir are currently mandatorily testing all passengers upon arrival, with the exception of defence personnel. At certain places like Coimbatore, which was earlier testing all passengers arriving by domestic flights, officials stopped compulsory testing, given the backlog test samples sent by the airport to the laboratories. Instead, the administration advised passengers to quarantine themselves.
Further, the state guidelines for Tamil Nadu stipulate that all passengers coming in from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi to Chennai should be mandatorily tested for Covid, while those coming in from other places in the country may be tested at the discretion of the health officials. Testing for all passengers travelling within Tamil Nadu may be done at the discretion of health officials. Similarly, Karnataka is conducting Covid swab test for only symptomatic passengers as well as those seeking quarantine exemption.
Globally, testing upon arrival is being implemented as one of the key measures alongside compulsory quarantine, to prevent entry of the virus from outside a country’s borders. The resurgence of the disease in New Zealand, after the country managed to get rid of it, was rooted in two British passengers testing positive upon arrival into the country after New Zealand opened up its borders for air travellers last month.
DGCA asks SpiceJet to stop ticket sale offer as govt’s fare limits are in place
New Delhi: Shortly after SpiceJet announced its five-day sale offering discounted tickets on Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) intervened asking the airline to withdraw its scheme government-imposed fare limits were in place till November 24.
SpiceJet, in a press release early Monday, said it has started a five-day “1+1 offer sale” where it was offering one-way base fares starting as low as Rs 899, excluding taxes, on its domestic network. The airline later withdrew the offer. —ENS Economic Bureau
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