Thursday, June 25, 2020

Fliers from abroad ‘flout’ quarantine rule

Calcutta: Stranded Indians flown back from Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan refused to go to a paid quarantine facility and instead headed home from the airport on Tuesday and Friday, in alleged violation of a rule aimed at restricting the spread of Covid-19, officials said.
The alleged lapse has led to a blame game among government departments.
Most of the passengers from Malaysia are labourers, who have been without income for months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Officials said altogether 283 fiers from Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan had left for home saying they did not have the money to stay at a paid quarantine centre. The state government, in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, has made it mandatory for all people returning from abroad to spend a week at a paid quarantine centre before going home.
Airport officials said 168 passengers had arrived from Kuala Lumpur on an evacuation flight of IndiGo on Tuesday. The flight landed in Calcutta around 7pm.
“Only 28 fliers agreed to go to a paid quarantine unit, while the remaining 140 refused. The 140 passengers said they were labourers and had no money left. They had been stuck in various parts of Malaysia for months,” an airport official said.
They stayed put in the arrival section for more than seven hours, while state government and airport officials tried to convince them to move to paid quarantine centres, set up at hotels or other private facilities.
A person has to pay Rs 1,800 a day to stay at a paid quarantine unit. The tariff does not include food bills.
“Most of these labourers lay down on the floor following an altercation with government officials, telling the police to forcibly remove them,” another official said.
Relatives of many of the passengers approached the airport authorities and state government officials, saying the fliers would stay at quarantine facilities in their home districts. Most of the labourers were from Nadia, Malda, Murshidabad and Burdwan.
Finally, sources said, the passengers were allowed to leave around 2.30am.
25/06/20 Sanjay Mandal/Telegraph
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