Air India crew members, who reside in Gautam Buddh Nagar and are involved in flight operations to evacuate Indian citizens stuck abroad due to lockdown, can return home from Delhi only after their COVID-19 test results are found negative, officials said on Saturday.
The crew would be examined for COVID-19 through the real-time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or the RT-PCR test, considered a gold standard but costly and time-consuming process as against the rapid anti-body tests, and put on duty again if found fit, the officials said.
The Gautam Buddh Nagar police had requested the management of the national carrier to accommodate its crew members that reside in Noida and Greater Noida in Delhi for the duration of the Centre’s “Vande Bharat Mission”.
The request was made because Gautam Buddh Nagar in western Uttar Pradesh falls in the ‘Red Zone’ and the to and fro movement of the flight crew could increase the risk of COVID-19 infection, the officials said.
“A letter from Air India CMD dated May 8 says that Air India is fully implementing health protocols of crew members. The RT-PCR test will be done and they will be staying in a hotel in Delhi till the test results are received. The crew members with negative test results will be allowed to go to their residence in Gautam Buddh Nagar,” Gautam Buddh Nagar Additional Commissioner of Police Sriparna Ganguly said.
“The letter further says that the RT-PCR test of crew members will be done on the fifth day and members with no symptoms and negative test results will be sent on the next duty,” the officer added.
She said the movement of Air India crew-members from Gautam Buddh Nagar to Delhi will continue as per rules so that there is no problem in rescue flights.
The ACP said that all police officers of the district have been informed and instructed to ensure strict compliance of the regulations. Air India is operating 64 repatriation flights for a week from May 7 as India rolled out a massive evacuation plan earlier this week.
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