One day before domestic flight services are set to resume across India amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that the reopening of airports in red zones was “extremely ill-advised”.
Taking to his official handle on Twitter, the Maharashtra Home Minister posted a series of tweets opposing the move and explaining his stance.
“It’s extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in the red zone. Mere thermal scanning of passengers inadequate w/o swabs. Impossible to have autos/cabs/buses ply in current circumstances. Adding positive passenger will add Covid stress to red zone,” posted Anil Deshmukh on Twitter.
In another tweet, he said, ”Getting passengers to come from a green zone to a red one putting them to risk of exposure doesn’t make sense. Keeping a busy airport up & running with all COVID-19 safety measures will need huge staff presence and compound risk in the red zone.”
Getting passengers to come from a green zone to a red one putting them to risk of exposure doesn’t make sense.
Keeping a busy airport up & running with all Covid-safety measures will need huge staff presence and compound risk in the red zone.#PlanningOverAdHocism— ANIL DESHMUKH (@AnilDeshmukhNCP) May 23, 2020
Notably, Deshmukh’s comments came a day after Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that all domestic flights are set to resume in India from May 25, i.e. Monday, as part of its graudal reboot of air travel services in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak.
Puri said, ”There’s no contradiction between domestic flights beginning from May 25 and lockdown in India being imposed till May 31.”
Confirming the development, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, ”There’s no contradiction between domestic flights beginning from May 25 and lockdown in India being imposed till May 31.”
Puri further said that the government will try to start a good percentage of international passenger flights before August. The Minister also said that the Centre is planning to bring back Indian citizens from Sri Lanka either by ship or flights. Discussions are at an advanced stage, the Aviation Minister said.
According to sources, the very first domestic flight will be at 4:30 AM on Monday. It will take off from the Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. In the first phase, 28 domestic flights will take off from Delhi towards various destinations across India.
Passengers have been advised to bring their boarding passes along with them. It has also been made mandatory for the air travellers to download the Aarogya Setu mobile app in their cellphones, which will help authorities determine if the concerned passengers are coming from a COVID-19 hotspot or not. If they do not have the app on their phones, passengers will have to sign an undertaking declaring that they are free from COVID-19 infection. Air travel staff will also assist passengers in downloading the app on the spot, if it’s not present on their phones
A thermal gun will also be used to screen the passengers before entry into the flight.