Monday, May 11, 2020

Touching scenes at Mumbai airport as a few Vande travellers break norm

Mumbai: Over 500 stranded Indians from London and Singapore landed in Mumbai on Air India repatriation flights on Sunday. Another 243 Indians, from Manila, were to land around midnight.
The first of the arrivals was AI-130, with 329 passengers from London, which landed around 1.45 am. The Singapore flight, with 243 passengers, landed around noon. Both flights were almost packed to capacity, with no social distancing onboard(in-flight social distancing norms were announced for scheduled airline flights that are to start operations soon and not repatriation flights).
Inside Terminal 2 though, social distancing norms were in place and thermal screening of passengers was done before they entered immigration. But norms were violated once the passengers exited the main terminal building as some mingled with family members gathered outside the building to meet them.
After this, passengers who live in Mumbai boarded a BEST bus, which took them to their paid 14-day quarantine facilities in their chosen hotels. A senior BMC official said that no passenger from the two flights was found to be symptomatic for Covid-19. Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “We have shared details of those going to other places, along with their vehicle numbers, with districts where they will be in institutional quarantine.”
On scenes at the arrival level of Terminal 2, Chandan Sondi, who was there to receive his 18-year-old son, said, “A young woman, who looked to be about 20, came out of the terminal building in tears. An elderly man, probably her father, went up to her, put his hand on her shoulder and consoled her. She boarded the bus after this.” An airline official said, “If the passengers are allowed to meet their family members after they exit the terminal building and before they go to the quarantine hotel, what is the point of 14-day quarantine?”
11/05/20 Manju V/Vijay V Singh/Times of India
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