Amid fresh corona surge, focus on Covid-appropriate flying SOPs

By: |
March 10, 2021 4:30 AM

Delhi HC does well to ask DGCA to enforce Covid-appropriate flying norms

The B1525 and B1617 strains of the virus have also been detected among imported cases into Singapore,

Many states now require a Covid-19 test before flying. While this eliminates chances of spread greatly, the fact is that there are still too many weak links—the long-enough window for contraction between testing and actually flying, contraction while travelling from home to the airport, etc. Thus the importance of Covid-appropriate behaviour can’t be emphasised enough. Inaction by authorities has led to people flouting mask-wearing and distancing norms at airports.

Against the backdrop of the recent rise in cases, the Delhi High Court has asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and airline companies to ensure standard operating procedures (SOP) laid down by the Centre are followed at all times with violations being penalised as prescribed. Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter, the court asked airlines to present each passenger with written instructions along with the boarding pass.

More important, it ordered that a violation must lead to putting the passenger on a no-fly list permanently or for a stipulated, sufficiently-long period. While relaxation may be granted only in exceptional circumstances, the order says this should be the exception.

DGCA, in its August 2020 guidelines, had said passengers violating Covid-appropriate behaviour would be put on a no-fly list violation, but implementation has been lax. Another requirement under the SoP was to ensure downloading of the Aarogya Setu app; however, this too has largely been ignored by airlines and airport authorities.

With cases rising again and the threat of a second wave, the Aarogya Setu rule must also be enforced, as it would help in faster contact tracing in case of infection.

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