With Covid cases on a sharp rise again, challans are being issued for violating social distancing norms at the Delhi airport as well.
Over the past few days, with Delhi recording upwards of 4,000 cases on Sunday, several passengers have been complaining that norms such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing are being ignored.
Enforcement teams, working under the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, have started issuing challans for Rs 2,000 inside the premises since Friday. A government official who did not want to be named said, “Ten enforcement teams were deployed on April 2. Four of these were in T2 and 6 were in T3. Approximately 70 people are being issued challans per day.”
At present, around 850 flights take off and land in Delhi each day. Air traffic movement in both terminals is around 70-75 per cent of pre-Covid numbers.
Earlier, the DDMA had ordered random tests as cases shot up. A source said, “Close to 1,000 people are being tested at random every day. Of that, approximately 2 per cent have tested positive.”
Those who test positive have to undergo mandatory quarantine. The DDMA guidelines read, “Those passengers who are found positive shall be mandatorily quarantined/isolated at their place of stay or CCC/CHG/Hospital, as the case may be, for 10 days as per the prescribed protocol of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, GOI.”
People are being tested at the arrival hall of both terminals. Teams of civil defence volunteers and lab technicians have been placed inside both terminals and passengers are informed about the testing once they have landed and are given the option to get tested. The government official said, “There are currently two teams in each terminal. We plan to deploy four more teams to increase randomised testing.”
Regarding passengers’ fears over social distancing, an airport official said, “As soon as a certain area is crowded, our teams reach the area and ask people to maintain distance.” On Monday, a passenger tweeted about long queues and lack of social distancing at the airport. Delhi Airport responded saying, “We proactively looked into this matter by ensuring adequate staff are in place. Further, with the help of ground support team, the waiting time was reduced to normal.”
There has also been a delay in reopening Terminal 1, which was supposed to have started taking passengers in the last week of March. However, this was delayed since officials said the other two terminals were equipped to handle passenger load. Since Covid cases are increasing, there is not expected to be a rise in air traffic in the coming days.