Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Exempt crew members operating flights from UK for institutional quarantine, says aviation ministry

New Delhi: The aviation ministry has urged authorities to exempt airline crew members flying from UK from institutional quarantine.

The new rule to quarantine passengers coming from UK was framed on Monday afternoon after the government decided to suspend all passenger flights till the year-end, amid the new Covid strain. However, cargo flights and those specifically permitted by aviation authorities here have been allowed to continue operations.

The government will review the suspension period in a couple of days depending on the new Covid virus mutant situation in the UK.

“State governments have been monitoring passengers who have come from UK since last few days as a matter of abundant precautions. Some states are ensuring institutional quarantine for such passengers…. all crew members are already in compliance with the guidelines and (rules), in respect of RT-PCR testing and quarantine, issued by the aviation ministry which are, in turn, based on the recommendations issued by the health ministry,” aviation ministry joint secretary Usha Padhee wrote to the authorities concerned on Wednesday.

“These guidelines are very robust in nature and they are followed rigorously. In view of (this), it is requested that crew members may be exempted from the mandatory institutional quarantine, if any, that is being currently enforced on the passengers returning from UK. It is reiterated that crew members of airlines would continue to be governed by the guidelines / (rules) issued by the aviation ministry,” she wrote.

Crew members operating flights to India from the UK were tested for Covid on arrival after the government’s Monday afternoon decision. They were allowed to go home only after their test result was negative.

Several states have different rules now to control the spread of the pandemic. The Maharashtra government, for instance, now requires passengers arriving from the Middle East and European countries to undergo mandatory institutional quarantine.

23/12/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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