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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

After day of chaos, more passengers land from UK

Friday’s decision had taken 256 passengers in the morning by surprise as they were tested at the airport and taken to two hotels in Aerocity for institutional quarantine without prior intimation.

Written by Ashna Butani | New Delhi | Updated: January 10, 2021 3:42:37 am
After day of chaos, more passengers land from UKOutside Aloft hotel in Aerocity, designated as a quarantine centre for passengers. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

A day after the Delhi government announced that passengers from the United Kingdom would be quarantined for a week even if they tested negative, causing chaos at Indira Gandhi International Airport, another batch of around 275 passengers landed in Delhi via a Vistara flight at 10.30 am. Officials said the situation had been brought under control as most passengers were aware of the procedure by now. They were informed about the seven-day institutional quarantine before boarding their flights.

Friday’s decision had taken 256 passengers in the morning by surprise as they were tested at the airport and taken to two hotels in Aerocity for institutional quarantine without prior intimation.

On Saturday, even as the process was smoothened, some passengers complained about having to shell out money at the airport. At arrival, passengers have to pay Rs 3,400 for a Covid test and for using the waiting lounge. The rate of a Covid test is the capital is set at Rs 800 at a lab and Rs 1,200 for a home visit.

An official of the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), when asked about the money being charged from passengers, said that “in the waiting lounge, passengers are given all their meals, juice, coffee and water. They have access to WiFi and other amenities.”

A Delhi government official said if passengers test negative, they can choose between quarantine at a hotel — either JW Marriott or Aloft in Aerocity — or at the Radha Soami Satsang Beas quarantine centre in Chhatarpur. He added that the tariff for the hotel stay is set at Rs 4,000 per night.

Transit passengers, who had not accounted for the quarantine while booking their flights, worried about reaching their final destinations. Friday had seen some such passengers negotiate with officials so they could travel onward to their destinations.

Many were also concerned about the mounting costs of staying at a hotel. Rakesh Trikha, a passenger who will be traveling from the UK to Amritsar via Delhi on January 11, was one of them. He said, “I am aware that the airport will be charging Rs 3,400 for the lounge and test.” But his concern was that he might have to pay Rs 30,000 if he stayed in a hotel.

Kerala’s Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, meanwhile, spoke to Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who assured him that transit passengers would not be asked to stay back in the national capital.

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