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14 flights in a week: Delhi airport prepares for over 3,600 evacuees

Starting Thursday, the evacuation process will continue for a week with over 14 flights coming in from Malaysia, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, USA, Philippines and Singapore.

Written by Jignasa Sinha | New Delhi | Published: May 7, 2020 2:09:13 am
14 flights in a week: Delhi airport prepares for over 3,600 evacuees The first flight is from Malaysia with over 250 passengers

The Delhi International Airport will see over 3,600 Indian nationals stranded in other countries being flown in over the coming week, said officials Wednesday. The GMR-led Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) issued guidelines for passengers and staff to follow to ensure their safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting Thursday, the evacuation process will continue for a week with over 14 flights coming in from Malaysia, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, USA, Philippines and Singapore. The first flight is from Malaysia with over 250 passengers. Airport authorities have stated that the flights will land at Terminal 3. Out of the 14 flights, three are connecting flights — they will land in Delhi and proceed to Bengaluru/ Hyderabad.

As per the flight plan prepared by the External Affairs Ministry, the Delhi Airport won’t see more than three evacuation flights a day. Passengers will first be screened, then sent to quarantine centres. After two weeks, they will be sent to their hometowns.

The Delhi government has announced that passengers will be quarantined at paid facilities for 14 days. In an order, officials said District Magistrates of New Delhi, South and Southeast Delhi will make arrangements for their stay. They will also coordinate with nodal officers, DTC buses and resident commissioners for hassle-free movement.

Sources said all 11 district administration offices have been asked to get in touch with hotels in their areas so that more quarantine facilities can be created. “Our aim is to have one hotel in each district… The cost for a room will be around Rs 3,000, plus taxes and meals. We are also in touch with administrations of NCR districts so that people who live in these areas can be sent home for isolation,” said an official who did not want to be named.

The CISF and Delhi Police have already deployed their personnel for security of passengers.

Hemendra Singh, Assistant Inspector General and PRO, CISF, said: “We will ensure that passengers and our staff don’t contract the virus. Before passengers reach security checkpoints, they will be screened by health workers and doctors. Staff deployed near ‘important’ checkpoints will be given PPE kits. Others will also wear face masks and gloves.” CISF officials said passengers will compulsorily have to wear face masks, gloves and maintain social distancing.

Officials said terminals will be sanitised by housekeeping staff and deep cleaning of passenger touchpoints and washrooms will be done. Luggage checking points, travellators, lifts and sitting areas will be cleaned every day. Over 500 personnel from GMR-DIAL will be working to ensure “smooth travel” of passengers.

The Directorate of General Health Services will put 20 medical teams into service at the airport and quarantine facilities for triaging of passengers.

A DIAL spokesperson said the airport has been functioning since the lockdown. Though commercial flights were halted since March 25, DIAL handled 1,310 cargo and 310 evacuation flights with 28,000 foreign nationals in this period.

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