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India: 1,500 passengers have tested positive for Covid-19 since resumption of domestic flights

Since India decided to resume domestic flights amid the Covid-19 pandemic, 1,500 passengers have tested positive for the virus at their destinations.

Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel walk past a departure information board showing all the cancellations, as flight operations are suspended from July 25 to 29 as part of the the state-government lockdown imposed to fight against the sprea

According to official data released by the Airports Authority of India, 1,500 Covid-19 cases have been reported by airports since the resumption of domestic flights back in May, following the suspension of air travel due to the pandemic. However, it's difficult to know for sure the exact figure as testing procedures differ from a state to another.

For instance, jurisdictions like Punjab, Uttarakhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Tripura and Andhra Pradesh are conducting their tests randomly, while others like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa and West Bengal only test symptomatic passengers.

In regards to this matter, a senior government official noted: “It is difficult to maintain a central database of how many people have been tested so far at airports because the rules for testing are not the same in every state. Some states are testing at random, while some are testing compulsorily for passengers arriving from some other states.”

There are, however, a few jurisdictions imposing obligatory testing on all passengers arriving such as Jammu and Kashmir, while certain places like Coimbatore used to follow the same protocol but had to stop it, since there were so many piled-up samples that needed to be sent to laboratories.

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As for Tamil Nadu, the guidelines dictate that all passengers arriving from Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Delhi to Chennai  must undergo mandatory testing while those arriving from other places in the country may be tested at the discretion of health officials.

Testing upon arrival along with compulsory self-quarantine have been two major measures taken by most airports in countries who decided to re-open their airports and resume international or domestic flights, in a bid to curb the further spread of Covid-19 and prevent the entry of new virus carriers.


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