Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Mask, face shield not must, airlines getting lax: Flyers

Hyderabad: Have airlines dropped their guard on Covid-19? It appears so, with some of them doing away with the mandatory safety kit – mask, face shield, sanitisers and PPE suit – handed out to every passenger until recently. Flyers who TOI spoke to claimed that the strict checks onboard an aircraft too have stopped now, with many allowed to sit even without their masks.

“I was shocked when the ground staff told me that it is no longer compulsory to wear the face shield or PPE (for those occupying the middle seat), when I went to ask for the kit,” said a flustered Barnali Bose who was travelling on a flight from Delhi to Hyderabad, on Tuesday, with her nine-year-old.

On August 25, the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) issued revised guidelines for domestic travel. While the order stated that there is “no requirement of the usage of body coverall/apron for the passengers” travelling by airlines, ship, railways, it maintained that wearing masks and face covers is still mandatory and that they “must be worn properly”. It also instructed airlines/railways/ship/bus operators to “keep a reserve of masks, face shield, hand sanitiser etc for passengers”.

“It is appalling to see airlines being so slack,” said another passenger, Shahil Shah who travelled between Hyderabad and Bengaluru recently. “While I can agree with PPE suits being done away with, I think it is dangerous to stop giving masks and face shields to passengers. Especially now, when there are strong indications of a third wave,” he said.

01/09/21 Sudipta Sengupta/Times of India

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