Delhi Govt announces 7 days quarantine of London passengers
It is intriguing as to why the Government of India (GOI) allowed resumption of flying operations with the United Kingdom (UK) when the country is under lockdown due to a new Covid strain scare. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is to be congratulated for his bold decision to put passengers coming from London into a seven-day mandatory institutional quarantine and the remaining 7 days in-home quarantine. First GOI banned for seven days to and from flights from London when the UK declared lockdown and extended it by another seven days up to January 7. Now from January 8, flights to and from London are allowed while the UK is still facing an acute Covid strain scare.
Covid negative a must before boarding
India’s carrier Air India says that the passengers from London to Delhi must come to the airport with a Covid negative test report. But the fact is that when checked in Delhi airport, some were found to have boarded from London and were Covid positive while being checked at the Delhi airport.
Kejriwal had urged the Centre to extend the ban on flights between India and the UK till January 31 in view of the “extremely serious” Covid situation in that country.
After completion of the seven-day institutional quarantine, such passengers will have to go under home-quarantine for another seven days which will be ensured through “strict surveillance” by district authorities of Delhi Government. In an order issued on Friday, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority said the new rules would be applicable on a trial basis till January 14. An official said a decision on extending the enforcement of the new rules will be taken after reviewing the situation.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on arrival from the UK will be isolated at facilities set up by the government, the Chief Minister said. “To protect Delhiites from exposure to the virus from the UK, the Delhi government has taken important decisions. Travellers coming from the UK will have to mandatorily undergo a self-paid RT-PCR test on arrival at the airport,” he said. “All those arriving from the UK who test positive will be isolated at an isolation facility. Negative ones will be taken to a quarantine facility for seven days, followed by seven days of home-quarantine,” Kejriwal tweeted.
“Those found negative will be given the option of both the paid and the government’s free institutional quarantine facility,” he said. So far, 13 Delhi residents have been found infected with the mutant variant of COVID-19 that was first detected in the UK. On Thursday, Kejriwal had urged the Centre to extend the ban on flights between India and the UK till January 31 in view of the “extremely serious” Covid situation in that country.
GOI silence is loud
Here the question is why Civil Aviation Ministry under the Government of India headed by Narendra Modi allow the resumption of flights between London and Delhi? What was the need of risking the Indian flight staffers (basically from the national carrier Air India) to fly to London and taking back passengers to Delhi, when the UK is under lockdown? Modi or his Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, very active on Twitter are on silent mode now on this issue. What is the real reason? Remaining silent could be construed as being stupid or insensitive – unless there are other reasons for doing this. Are any VIP family members who went to London for a New Year’s bash stuck in London and want to return home?