Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Switched off: phones of some international fliers

Calcutta: Around 11,000 international passengers have arrived in the city between March 9 and March 26, and tracking a number of them has turned out to be impossible, sources in the state government said on Tuesday.
The state health department and various municipal corporations and municipalities have remained in touch with a majority of them over the phone, seeking details about their health and trying to find out whether they have developed any symptom of Covid-19. But many others have remained unreachable.

An official of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation said: “There are some non-Indian passengers who we could not contact because their phone numbers provided by the airlines are switched off. It seems they have taken new SIM cards after arriving in India. We don’t know where and how they are. We do not even know whether they have returned to their countries.”

The tracking involves calling up the passengers every day and asking whether they are running a temperature or facing any respiratory problems, and also whether they have quarantined themselves for the mandatory 14-day period.
“There is no way to cross-check. We have to believe what the people are saying. But it could well be that some of them have jumped the quarantine and left,” said an official of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation.

The civic body is in charge of keeping track of the people who have arrived in the city from abroad and find out whether they have developed any symptoms of coronavirus infection.

While arrival of international flights in India was stopped on March 22, ships have arrived at the Calcutta port between March 24 and March 26, the government sources said.

“The state health department has prepared a list of passengers who arrived at the Calcutta airport between March 9 and 22, and a few people who arrived by ship between March 24 and 26. Together, the figure stands at 11,000-odd,” said a state government official. “The ships had only crew members.”
31/03/20 Subhajoy/Telegraph

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