KOLKATA: Flyers, who arrive in Kolkata airport
with sore throat, fever or shortness of breath — all symptoms of Covid-19
— will be taken to the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in New Town for swab test and health assessment before being either allowed to go with the advice of self-isolation or home quarantine, or be admitted to the health facility for treatment.
The revival of domestic flights was postponed from Monday to Thursday following a request to the civil aviation ministry by the state home department. Also, the number of flights have been majorly curtailed. While a third of pre-Covid services were supposed to be back in air, the services will resume with only 10 flights (10 departures and 10 arrivals).
Amidst confusion among passengers on whether taking a flight to Kolkata will mean getting quarantined, the Bengal health department clarified that those who do not display Covid symptoms
will be allowed to proceed to their destination with an advice to self-monitor their health for 14 days. In case they develop symptoms, they will need to dial the state call centre.
Symptomatic flyers will, however, be transported to the CNCI unit in New Town that is both Covid treatment and a quarantine facility. There, swab tests will be done. Thereafter, doctors will assess if the symptoms are mild, moderate or severe. Those displaying mild symptoms will be released and advised self-isolation. The rest will be admitted to the Covid facility.
“All arriving passengers will be required to declare their recent travel history, symptoms, address in Kolkata and contact number so that follow up checks can be carried out. This form has to be submitted after they undergo thermal scan,” a health official at the airport said.
During departure, only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the flight. Everyone will be required to wear a mask and follow hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette while maintaining social-distancing norms.
Airport officials have warned that the procedures, both during departure and arrival, will take time. “Departing passengers should arrive three hours before the flight. Check-in counters will close an hour before departure. On arrival too, the formalities will take time and passengers may be able to walk out 45-60 minutes after landing,” an airport official said.
“The sale of the middle seat is puzzling. How will flyers maintain social distancing in a 2.5-3 hour fight when there are people seated next to you on both sides? Many travellers aren’t comfortable with the idea,” said Travel Agents’ Federation of India chairman (east) Anil Punjabi.