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Air India & Delhi CM showed no mercy; 7-day quarantine will continue for those arriving in Delhi

The Delhi Government has stated that it will continue the COVID-19 PCR test and the seven-day quarantine test for those arriving in Delhi on flights from the UK as part of virus prevention. Hundreds of passengers who arrived in Delhi the last day were detained without warning and sent for quarantine created severe difficulties for them. The decision by the Delhi government to conduct a mandatory COVID-19 test for those coming from the UK has caused inconvenience to passengers.

AI 112 was the first flight from London after the partial resumption of Indo-UK flights, which were halted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The main problem was that none of the passengers were prepared for the quarantine. Unexpected quarantine adversely affected the various life problems of many. People shared their hardships and difficulties on social media. “I am one of the passengers of flight AI112 from London with my 4.5 months old daughter…There is no food for my daughter & they didn’t let me get my stroller…” Gouri Shankar Das, who was on the flight, tweeted.

Another passenger Harprit Takkar tweeted videos of the chaos at Delhi airport. “Just came from London AI112, it’s absolutely manic at Delhi Airport. Asking us to go for institutional quarantine even with Negative PCR test. Didn’t mention this on your SOP,” he posted.

When the flight took off from London at 9.40 pm on Thursday, the existing rules in Delhi were to allow passengers to exit the airport after a negative test. But the sudden announcement of the government was confusing all the passengers.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked the Center to ban all flights from the UK until January 31. Following this, the Delhi government on Friday announced stricter conditions for air travelers from the UK. The passengers were taken two hotels in Aerocity — JW Marriot and Aloft — for institutional quarantine. Of the 150 Kovid tests conducted till 9 pm, 2 positive cases were reported.

However, Air India tweeted that: “Air India had reached out to passengers of the London-Delhi flight, before the flight took off from Heathrow Airport at 2139 hrs last night. Around 20 passengers opted to cancel their flight on being informed by Air India London team of this advisory. The announcement was repeated during the flight as well. Air India had mobilised all available resources to expedite the RT-PCR tests for passengers of this flight arriving from London and extend every possible support to facilitate them.”

Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev stated that “as a matter of abundant precaution, in view of the increased transmissibility of the new variant, it is decided that all travellers coming from United Kingdom (UK) to India, would be mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR tests on arrival at the airport. Those who are found positive shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate (isolation) unit as per existing laid down protocol. Those who are found negative shall be kept in compulsory institutional quarantine for a period of seven days followed by seven days of home quarantine,” the statement said.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote on Twitter that the government has taken steps to protect Delhiites from exposure to virus from UK.

However, the Central Government has taken the view that the decision to change the laws in Delhi without notice is the responsibility of the Delhi Government. The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation said: “It’s a Delhi government decision. States can add additional measures as per existing guidelines.”

“However, MoCA had requested airlines to announce the same to passengers as early as possible. Air India had done that. DGCA requested time to inform airlines landing at Delhi. Airport was requested and they have mobilised more staff for testing protocols to reduce waiting time. Whatever best can be done at the airport to facilitate the passengers is being done. Institutional quarantine is a state government decision,” it said.

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