14-day quarantine not required for domestic fliers: Hardeep Singh Puri
As domestic flight operations are set to resume from Monday, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said there will be no quarantine for passengers. Puri said on Thursday that a 14-day quarantine would not be "practical" for domestic flight passengers. Earlier on Thursday, the government had released standard operating procedures (SOPs) for domestic air travel. Here's more on what he said.
While responding to a query during a press briefing, Singh said, "Because you had long-haul (international) flights, there was a requirement prior to and later for quarantine." He added, "But since these (domestic) flights are short-haul, we don't think that quarantine is required at this point in time." He justified the rules saying that positive cases will not be allowed to fly anyway.
Puri said that in the case of domestic air travel, the same laws of domestic rail or bus travel will apply. "The quarantine issue will be dealt with in a pragmatic manner. We can't have 14 days quarantine... it's not practical," he said. He added, "I don't know why we are making such a fuss on the quarantine issue."
Puri also asked travelers to take "a conscious decision to see if they are fit to travel." Shortly after his presser, Assam Deputy Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told NDTV that the state will insist on quarantining incoming air travelers.
Commercial flight operations in India have been shut since March 25, when the nationwide lockdown first came into effect. Since then, the lockdown has been extended thrice. Currently, India is in the fourth phase of the lockdown, which will last until May 31. During the lockdown, flight operations have been limited to cargo, medical evacuation, special flights, etc.
On Wednesday, Puri that domestic flight operations will be resumed from Monday (May 25) in a "calibrated manner." On Thursday, the government issued SOPs for the operation of these flights including mandatory social distancing and thermal screening, the use of the contact tracing app Aarogya Setu, web check-ins, etc. Passengers will only be allowed one handbag and one check-in bag.