New Delhi, December 1, 2008 : There is a growing Chorus in India against Normal international flight operations starting December 15, against the backdrop of the new, more infectious ‘Omicron’ variant of Covid-19.The Centre advises states and Union Territories to ensure that they are prepared for health infrastructure such as O2 beds, ventilators, ICUs, etc.This demand coincides with the Centre’s advisory to states.
Many countries have closed their airspaces or placed restrictions on incoming passengers at the moment.
Many are now questioning the Centre’s decision to open the sector in this environment, especially after the second wave of Covid-19 that was unleashed by Delta variant.
LocalCircles’ survey found that the majority of respondents want the Centre to reconsider lifting Foreign flights due to the new Omicron and Covid B.1.1.529 variants.
The survey revealed that two-thirds of respondents wanted the government to reconsider its decision to resume international flights starting December 15, 2021.This was in light the new Omicron and Covid B.1.1.529 variants.
Several countries in Europe are currently in lockdown due to rising Covid-19 Delta case numbers.Japan has also suspended international flights.
A few other countries have placed restrictions or banned international flights.
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister, raised concerns Tuesday about the delay in international flight cancellations.
“Many countries have stopped flights from Omicron-affected nations.Why are we putting off? We had delayed the halting of Foreign flights even in the initial wave.Delhi is the most affected because it receives the majority of Foreign flights.”Prime Minister, please stop all flights immediately,” Kejriwal wrote on Twitter.
According to the Centre’s guidelines passengers from countries considered ‘at-risk’ will need to be tested upon arrival.These guidelines will be in Effect starting Tuesday at midnight.
Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, chaired a high level meeting with states and the UTs to review preparedness and measures in light of reports about Omicron variants of Covid-19 in various countries.
The states were advised by the United Nations to improve their surveillance of international passengers and strengthen their testing infrastructure.
They also needed to monitor hotspots effectively and ensure that there was an increase in health infrastructure.
According to the CSMIA of Mumbai, passengers arriving from high-risk nations will be separated from those arriving from low-risk ones.
“Adequate RTPCR testing facility for international arrivals in the form of 48 registration counters, 40 sampling booths.”
“A large sitting area has been created for passengers awaiting their RTPCR results.It includes amenities such as washrooms, food and beverages.
However, aviation stakeholders are not in favor of blanket bans.
“Well, suspending or extend the suspension of flights would be a knee jerk reaction.We need to improve screening at airports and ensure that only fully vaccinated persons travel to the country,” stated Rajiv Mehra (President, Indian Association of Tour Operators).
“We should be alert, but not alarmist.Experts in medicine agree that there shouldn’t be a panic, but they recommend that we continue to wear a mask, and follow Covid-appropriate behavior.
Rikant Pittie (Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip) stated that “We must continue to take all necessary precautions concerning Covid-19, and the new variant.” It is important to prevent another wave, and we understand the importance staying safe during these difficult times.
“We will continue operating according to the norms provided by the Indian government in order to safeguard everyone from the third wave Covid.”
India has decided to allow the resumption commercial international scheduled passenger services starting December 15.
The government stated that there will be a calibrated resumption from countries considered “at risk” by Union Health Ministry.
More than 10 countries are on the “at-risk” list, including countries from Europe, South Africa and Brazil, as well as Botswana, Botswana, China, South Africa, Brazil and Bangladesh.
The nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19 caused passenger air services to be suspended in March 2020.Domestic flight services were resumed on May 25, 2020, but international flights were only maintained by bilateral ‘Bubble Agreements.
India has signed air bubble pacts (with 28 countries)
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