Saturday, April 25, 2020

Corona warriors who fly with the virus

Bhopal: In the current situation, lesser mortals would be frightened at the mere thought of travelling anywhere along with the samples for Covid-19 testing, but for Bhopal’s corona warriors - Captain Majid Akhtar and Captain Vishwas Rai - it is a regular job. These two bravehearts fly these samples from Bhopal airport to Delhi for testing in a special plane of MP government.

Both pilots have till date ferried 5500 samples during their four trips in the past 10 days. Out of these, three trips were to Delhi and one to Pondicherry. To ensure that they stay safe, both the pilots have to wear PPE kits while flying. Speaking about his assignment, Captain Majid said, "It was little scary when we had to fly with Covid-19 samples on the first day. It was challenging too as we had never undertaken such a job earlier in life."

Speaking about the safety gear while flying, Majid said, "Initially, we felt quite suffocated, because we were not used to operating the aircraft wearing such a kit. Even if there is itching in any part of the body, we can’t do anything till the flight lands." Each time, they also have to sanitize the plane to stay safe.

Majid has been flying the planes of Madhya Pradesh Government for the last 25 years and has ferried Governors, Chief Minister, Chief Justice, Union Ministers and many other VVIPs "I am lucky that during this pandemic, I have got the opportunity to serve the state. My wife is a doctor; she is also playing the role of a corona warrior. Since my wife and I are doing sensitive work, I have sent my mother to my sister's house and my son is staying with his granny," said Majid.

Capt. Vishwas Rai, another pilot of MP Aviation Department, has been flying the aircrafts of Madhya Pradesh government for over 14 years. He said that this is the first time in his career when he is carrying samples of corona patients and not the VVIPs in government planes. "When we were told to fly these samples, it felt little scary initially. However, at the time when everyone is playing a crucial role in fight against the lethal virus, we felt how can we stay back when we have got this chance," said Vishwas.
25/04/20 Ramendra Singh/Times of India

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