Thursday, June 18, 2020

Flyers slip through checks at airports

Chennai: Airports could become gateways for Covid-19 across the country.
People who take Vande Bharat flights to Delhi are slipping through checks there and are taking domestic flights to other cities. Though the rule says these passengers should not mingle with domestic passengers and should go into quarantine in Delhi, many are giving authorities the slip. There is no mechanism to find out if a passenger arriving on a domestic flight had actually reached India from abroad.
The state may have announced an intense lockdown but passengers landing by around 30 domestic flights can still walk out of the terminal without Covid-19 screening at the Chennai airport. AAI officials say loopholes are exploited by frequent travellers who know how airports function.

Two instances show how easy it is for passengers to slip through the checks, evade quarantine and even fly when they are Covid-positive. In one incident, around four passengers who landed from Chicago in New Delhi not only managed to reach Chennai by a domestic flight but also walked out of domestic terminal with just a home quarantine stamp on their hands on Sunday.

They managed to evade institutional quarantine for all international passengers in Delhi and in Chennai. The reason? There is no way to check the origin of passengers if they have not booked a through flight and hold a common boarding pass for the international and domestic sector. The passengers from the US walked out of the airport in Chennai as domestic passengers arriving from Delhi.

T Rajasekar (name changed), who landed from Chicago, said there was no one explaining to them about the need to go into a quarantine in Delhi. "Soon after arrival at the international terminal, those who wished to return to their states were asked to wait in a queue. Many states had counters but not for Tamil Nadu."
18/06/20 Times of India

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