Earlier this week, domestic flights took off again after a gap of two months. In the coronavirus era, there are new norms for flights and everyone is checked before getting on a plane and after getting out of the plane. Suspect passengers are sent to quarantine.
It so turned out, that on the first day of operations itself, there was an asymptomatic passenger who flew from Chennai to Coimbatore, onboard 6E 381. The passenger was able to get through the checks at Chennai and on arrival at Coimbatore, it was found out that he was positive for the CoronaVirus. Chennai and Coimbatore are in the same state (Tamil Nadu), so the testing protocol at both ends had to be the same, I believe.
The passenger was sent for Quarantine at the state medical facility in Coimbatore. The good thing was, luckily, no one was seated next to him on the plane. The plane had been sanitized on arrival at Coimbatore, and deep cleaned at Chennai where it was parked for the night.
IndiGo, as a matter of ample precaution, has grounded the crew which operated this flight for 14 days and is notifying other passengers who were on board this particular flight.
Another such case also came to light on Air India/Alliance Air flight 9I837 between Delhi and Ludhiana operated on May 26, 2020, which had 36 passengers and 4 crew members. All 40 people were put under institutional quarantine.
While the Virus is an invisible enemy and I was expecting someone to board a flight with the Virus sooner than later, I did not fathom someone would go on the plane as early as day one, unknowingly of course. This does bring back the fact I’ve repeated earlier, again and again, stay home and travel only if you have to, unless we are able to make even more progress with eliminating or vaccinating against the virus.
For the crew, it is tougher, because, in spite of the various measures they are using to try and be safe on board, this could happen to anyone, and sooner than later, this could be a cycle where crew keeps getting pulled out because there was a passenger on board who was an asymptomatic carrier.
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