New rules imposed to screen travellers from virus-affected countries
New Delhi : The government on Wednesday said that the flights arriving in India from coronavirus-affected countries will be staggered to facilitate the hassle-free mandatory screening of passengers.
The new rule came to effect after complaints from several passengers over long wait and delays due to screening process. Some posted videos and comments on social media, saying the completion of all formalities took as much as six hours. One undated video that went viral showed a distraught passenger asking authorities to “shoot us”.
While some people alleged that the passengers staying in group for such long time increases the risk of virus spread.
The new standard operating procedure (SOP) restricts the movement of passengers to groups of 30 accompanied by a five-member escort team headed by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and comprising representatives of airlines, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and Delhi Police, and puts in place measures to ensure travellers cannot evade screening and quarantine.
Travellers will have to undergo initial thermal screening by the Airport Health Organisation (APHO) on emerging from aerobridges. Symptomatic passengers will be taken to hospital while others will be taken to immigration counters.
The SOP states passports will be retained at the immigration counters and handed over to the head of the escort teams. “The passports shall not be handed over to the passengers, at any cost,” it adds, till the screening is complete.