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Business News/ News / India/  Centre weighing option of suspending all domestic air travel to contain Covid-19
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Centre weighing option of suspending all domestic air travel to contain Covid-19

The need for suspension of domestic travel is felt as it is a widely used mode of transport, carrying close to 13 million passengers across the country every month
  • A decision, however, will hinge on the severity of the pandemic in the coming days, said a govt official requesting anonymity
  • (Photo: PTI)Premium
    (Photo: PTI)

    New Delhi: India is weighing the option of suspending all domestic air travel temporarily to effectively fight the coronavirus crisis, which has so far claimed five lives and infected over 340 people.

    The top brass in the government is assessing the unfolding situation for taking a call in this regard, said a government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The need for suspension of domestic travel is felt as it is a widely used mode of transport, carrying close to 13 million passengers across the country every month. Also, a temporary suspension of domestic flights will complement the suspension of rail and road transport, which the government announced on Sunday. A decision, however, will hinge on the severity of the pandemic in the coming days. The official quoted above said a temporary suspension cannot be ruled out.

    India had last week banned entry of all scheduled international commercial passenger flights for a week from Sunday to fight the pandemic. Saudi Arabia, one of the affected countries, last week announced suspension of all its domestic travel including flights from Saturday to prevent the spread of the virus.

    At a meeting of central and state officials on Sunday, it was decided that there was an urgent need to extend the curbs on movement of non-essential passenger transport till end of the month. This included suspension of train as well as urban and metro rail services and inter-state passenger support. India is observing a voluntary curfew on Sunday as part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

    The coronavirus disease has disrupted business activities, led to factory shut downs, closure of schools and colleges and has prompted the government to set up a task force to examine what all measures were needed to limit its adverse impact on the economy. The spread of the virus could delay a recovery in India’s growth, which has in recent months been battling a slump in consumption.

    Industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said on Friday quoting a survey done between 15-19 March that 47% of the 317 companies surveyed indicated the pandemic was having moderate-to very high impact on business even at early stages. The impact is seen on new orders, inventory and cash flow.

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    Published: 22 Mar 2020, 05:57 PM IST
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