After several speculations and opposition on the resumption of domestic flight operations from Monday in Maharashtra due to the increasing number of novel coronavirus cases in the state, Maharashtra government on Sunday agreed to allow limited takeoffs and landings at Mumbai airport.
"Initially the state government will allow 25 takeoffs and 25 landings every day from the capital city. This number will be increased gradually," said Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik. "State government will issue details and guidelines in this regard soon," he added.
Earlier today, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said that he has requested the Centre to give the state some more time to resume domestic air travel in the state.
In an address to the state, Thackeray said "We can't say that lockdown will be over by 31 May. We will have to see how we will go forward. The coming days are crucial as the virus is multiplying fast. I want to assure the medical fraternity that we are with them in all ways."
He had also added that people in the state will have to learn to live with coronavirus as the number of cases continues to rise in the state over the past few days.
Many states like Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu were opposed to opening up of their airports in view of rising cases of the coronavirus infection, making it difficult for the airlines as well as the civil aviation authorities to resume services.
Furthermore, Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh had also earlier said, "It’s extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in red zone. Mere thermal scanning of passengers is inadequate without conducting swab tests. Impossible to have autos/cabs/buses ply in current circumstances. Adding positive passenger will add Covid-19 stress to red zone."
Some states decided to put passengers on mandatory institutional quarantine while several others talked about putting them under home quarantine. Among them are Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh government said that air travellers to the state will be put under home quarantine for 14 days unless they are staying for less than a week or if they clear coronavirus test earlier
However, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday questioned the need for quarantine if a passenger is shown green status in Aarogya Setu app. The green status signifies that a passenger is safe.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Saturday reported 2,608 new Covid-19 cases, the second highest single-day spike, taking the state’s Covid-19 count to 47,190, according to state health department.
Along with that, the death toll in the state also climbed to 1,577 after 60 more fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours.