Tuesday, July 09, 2019

IndiGo cites data to defend ‘refusal’

Guwahati: The customer relations wing of IndiGo (InterGlobe Aviation Ltd), in an email to The Telegraph on Monday, spoke of “scientific evidence” that “infectious HIV has been recovered from human corpses between 11 to 16 days after death in bodies”.

This follows a mail to the airlines for a response to an incident at Chennai airport where the body of an HIV-positive child from Assam was allegedly refused transportation.

The email said the “HIV virus falls under category A of dangerous goods, which is forbidden in pax and cargo aircraft”.

The airlines cited a policy of the National AIDS Control Organisation (Naco), saying, “According to the Naco policy, infectious HIV has been recovered from human corpses between 11 and 16 days after death in bodies stored at the usual mortuary temperature of 2 degrees Celsius (unlike other virus and bacteria). It is unclear how long infectious HIV may persist in corpses left to decay at normal room temperature, but HIV has been cultured from organs stored at 20 degrees Celsius up to 14 days.”

It added, “In this context, it is recommended not to carry humans affected by the HIV virus. In addition, the HIV virus falls under category A of dangerous goods, which is forbidden in pax and cargo aircraft. According to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) manual UN ID 2814, it is forbidden to accept HIV-infected (human retrovirus) on passenger aircraft.”

AIDS activist Jahnabi Goswami slammed the airline for posting “blatant lies”.

She said the airline was excusing itself for its “discriminatory” behaviour and “using the Naco policy as a cover to hide from the truth”.

She said there was “no such Naco policy” and was mulling a letter to the ministry of civil aviation to highlight the point that such “discriminatory” behaviour may be repeated by other private airlines.

“We all know how HIV is transmitted. There are no restrictions in conducting a post-mortem on HIV-positive bodies. There are dos and don’ts in handling bodies. A body shouldn’t be touched with bare hands. I will write a letter to the ministry of aviation. Such an incident may be repeated by other airlines,” she said.
09/07/19 Gaurav Das/Telegraph

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