“Extremely Ill-Advised”: Maharashtra Home Minister On Allowing Flights

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Coronavirus lockdown: The centre has said flights can resume from Monday

Mumbai:

Maharashtra, the state with the highest number of coronavirus cases, is showing reluctance in restarting flight operations which the centre has said will resume from tomorrow. The Maharashtra government on Saturday said it is yet to amend its May 19 lockdown order that allowed only special flights, indicating it is not ready to receive people from other states in large numbers.

“It’s extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in red zone. Mere thermal scanning of passengers inadequate without swabs. Impossible to have autos, cabs and buses ply in current circumstances. Adding positive passenger will add COVID stress to red zone,” Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh tweeted.

“Getting passengers to come from a green zone to a red one putting them to risk of exposure doesn’t make sense. Keeping a busy airport up and running with all COVID-safety measures will need huge staff presence and compound risk in the red zone,” Mr Deshmukh tweeted.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said there was no need for quarantine if a passenger’s Aarogya Setu app, which helps in contact-tracing, is showing green.

However, he admitted that several states were not comfortable with the idea of starting flights on Monday even as he suggested that India will try to restart some international passenger flights as early as June.

The other states that have red-flagged the centre’s plan to restart passenger flights include West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

With the spike in COVID-19 cases weighing heavily upon it – Tamil Nadu has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in India – senior officials of the state government have expressed concerns about resuming domestic flights, news agency PTI reported.

The Civil Aviation Minister said while most states are ready, a few have questioned the necessity of restarting domestic flights. “They said the centre should delay it further by two-three days. So, they (ministers) asked the states to send their concerns in writing. But the states did not… This will keep going on. When we are dealing with a situation like this, we should expect that there would be some hesitation. But it is our (centre’s) responsibility and we should make efforts to make those concerns,” Mr Puri said during a Q&A session on Saturday.





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