Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Screen all int’l passengers & airline crew flying to India: IATO tells Govt

New Delhi: The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has requested the government to screen everyone flying into India — passengers and airline crew — for coronavirus irrespective of the country they are coming from. As of now, passengers flying in from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Italy and Iran are being screened on arrival in India. To be sure, this list is being expanded as the situation evolves, with Italy and Iran becoming the latest entrants on Monday.
“It was thought that India is relatively safe with no cases of Covid 19 virus being reported. But the scenario has changed during the last two days with cases being detected in different parts of the country. In view of this fast moving development, IATO urges government to screen all travellers irrespective of the country from where they are traveling to India,” IATO, an apex body for Indian tourism industry with over 1,600 members established in 1982, said in a statement Tuesday.
While welcoming the steps already taken by India like suspending visas of Chinese, South Korean, Italian, Japanese and Iranian nationals and cancelling flights to affected countries, IATO said it “has learnt from its members and travellers” that screening at international airports needs to be spruced up. “At some of international airports in other countries, thermal screening is being done for everyone in the flight starting from cockpit crew, cabin crew and all the passengers. This is being done inside the aircraft before passengers’ de-board from the aircraft…. IATO suggests that all international travellers, including aircraft crew members, should be screened upon arrival from all the countries in a similar way to avoid spreading of coronavirus in our country,” it said, adding “no flight must be excluded (for screening) as we get airlines flying in from hubs that have passengers from all over the world.”
03/03/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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