Updated: May 10, 2020 11:22:03 am
Two specially chartered flights, carrying 572 Indian nationals from London and Singpore, landed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) early on Sunday morning. The passengers were thermally screened before being sent for quarantine to 88 hotels across the city.
A spokesperson for Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) said that special Air India flights will repatriate as many as 2,350 Indian citizens from the UK, the US, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Philippines over the next week beginning Sunday. In addition, six transit flights will also pass through Mumbai.
Sunday’s third flight will bring back 241 Indian citizens from Manila, Philippines, at 11 pm.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare dictate that the arriving passengers wear gloves and face masks throughout their journey. At the airport, two dedicated aerobridges have been identified for these flights, while the Airport Hospital Organisation has set up infrastructure to screen passengers before they proceed towards immigration.
Passengers displaying symptoms of Covid-19 will be isolated and shifted to a separate area earmarked for the purpose, the spokesperson said, adding that airport ambulances were placed on standby to shift such passengers to designated isolation centres.
The spokesperson also said that distinct markings had been laid out throughout the airport to ensure that passengers maintained a minimum distance of two metres. “The airport has set up 30 immigration counters for undertaking the necessary procedures and ensuring quickest clearance of the arriving passengers,” the spokesperson said.
Upon arrival, the passengers will also be required to download the central government’s Arogya Setu app before proceeding to quarantine. A small number of Forex and Sim card outlets have been made operational at the airport for this purpose.
Airport authorities have also arranged for food and beverages and hand sanitisers inside the arrival hall. The spokesperson said that passengers’ luggage would be disinfected before being loaded onto conveyor belts and that baggage trolleys had also been sanitised.
All airport personnel coming into contact with the passengers had also been provided with face shields and Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs).
Arriving passengers would be escorted by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel to BEST buses and taxis arranged by the BMC to transport the passengers to quarantine hotels. The BMC has arranged 3,343 rooms in 88 hotels across price rangers to quarantine the passengers for 14 days.
BMC health officials will regularly check those in quarantine facilities in the city. If the passengers test negative after 14 days, they will be allowed to go home and will have to undertake self-monitoring of health for the next 14 days. If tested positive, the person will be shifted to municipal quarantine facilities or dedicated hospitals.
All asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to leave for their respective districts or states, given the host state is ready to receive them. A help desk has been set up in the airport to assist those passengers wishing to enter institutional quarantine in districts outside Mumbai.
Travel passes will be issued to such passengers. As per the SOP, “Those passengers who are resident of other states and are desirous of travelling to their home state, they will be permitted, provided the host state is ready to receive them.”
Since the lockdown was imposed, 51 repatriation flights carrying 8,500 passengers have taken off from CSMIA.
Over 2,000 passengers flew to Atlanta, USA, in eight Delta Airlines flights while Air India, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operated two flights each to London. In addition, Air India also operated six flights from CSMIA to destinations Frankfurt, Paris and other destinations, said the spokesperson.
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