Maharashtra government on Monday announced the standard operating procedure for domestic air travellers arriving in Maharashtra – the country’s worst-affected state with over 50,000 covid-19 infection cases.
In an order, the state government appointed the additional municipal commissioners in the state as the nodal officers for the purpose of enforcing the SOP norms and said every arriving air passenger will be required to declare after arrival that he/she has not been affected by covid-19, neither shown any symptoms of covid-19 nor resided in any containment zone.
Maharashtra government’s announcement comes a day after the state’s chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said the state is not yet ready to resume domestic flights and manage airport activities. The state government has been reluctant to allow flight operations in the state over fears that it may worsen the already-rising number of covid-19 transmissions in the state.
Despite the country recording 1,38,845 covid-19 infection cases (as on Sunday), the ministry of civil aviation allowed domestic flights to operate from 25 May. Maharashtra has allowed 25 take-offs and landings per day for the moment.
However, due to a large number of flight cancellations by private airlines without adequate prior notices there is an increasing public outcry by thousands of passengers who booked tickets with hopes of flying on Monday, especially from metro cities.
To avoid such inconvenience, Maharashtra government said the nodal officers will need to co-ordinate with Airport Authorities for getting the exact schedule of flights and list passengers arriving in respective districts or corporations.
The number of covid-19 infected patients in Maharashtra has crossed 50,000 with more than 30,000 cases reported in Mumbai alone.
“The detailed list of passengers with their arrival date and time and their final destination would be shared with the nodal officers of the state by the nodal officer appointed by the Airports Authority at least 6 hours in advance of the expected departure time of the flight," said the state government.
Every nodal officer has to ensure that adequate medical teams are placed at the airport for screening to avoid delay and chaotic situation at the airport.
“All passengers shall undergo thermal screening and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the flight…those found symptomatic will be taken to the nearest health facility. The nodal officers shall set up a 24*7 helpline desk…provide PPE kits, thermal guns etc. to the medical teams at the airport..," said the statement by the state government.
All passengers coming to Maharashtra will have to compulsorily undergo home isolation for 14 days and passengers who are coming to the state for less than a week will have to share the details of their onward journeys to be exempted from isolation.
The domestic air travellers may be permitted to travel in their private passenger vehicles only between the airport and their residence.
All the staff associated with the airport operations will be allowed unhindered movement to facilitate smooth operation of the airport, said the state government.