TN to quarantine air passengers
Tamil Nadu

TN to quarantine air passengers

S Murari

Tamil Nadu, May 24 : As the Union Civil Aviation Ministry announced resumption of domestic air travel from Monday, the Tamil Nadu Government made it clear on Sunday that arriving passengers would be quarantined for 14 days.

As a follow-up to guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry that those boarding flights should be thermal tested and those with symptoms should be further tested and allowed in only after they turn negative for Covid, the Tamil Nadu Government also said even asymptomatic passengers would be home quarantined for 14 days.

It said the incoming passengers should fill an e-pass and make a self-declaration, as required by the Union Health Ministry also, that they have not tested positive for the past two months and that they do not come from a containment zone and nor do they have fever.

If they are travelling in a group of two, they can add the second person in the family member category in the e-portal. They should get entry pass from the TN portal and only then should airline staff give boarding pass.

They could go home from the airport in their own vehicle or hired car but the number should be registered with the portal. On arrival they should make an entry at the TN e-pass registration desk. Those without these passes would not be allowed to go out.

After medical tests, those who are symptomatic would be advised home quarantine for two weeks. If they do not have the facility, they should go for paid institutional quarantine.

It said pickup vehicles could have only one passenger plus the driver. If the receiving passenger comes into contact with the arriving passenger, they will also be quarantined.

The airport should also follow the protocol prescribed by the Civil Aviation Ministry. Airport staff handling passengers should all wear proper personal protection equipment. All baggage should be disinfected. Arriving passengers should be checked with infra-red thermometer. Symptomatic passengers should be sent to hospitals in designated ambulances.

Airport staff on surveillance duty for two weeks at a stretch should be put on home quarantine for the next two weeks, it said.

All these protocols should be followed for passengers coming by train also, but it is not done as it is not feasible. Even so, some passengers are put on quarantine.

As Tamil Nadu has the second highest incidence of Covid cases after Maharashtra and Chennai has nearly 10,000 cases as of now, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy opposed resumption of train and air services at least till May 31 when the fourth phase of lockdown will come up for review. But the railway services are set to resume in a limited way, but these trains will not touch Chennai.

As the Centre has decided to resume air services as a prelude to restarting international flights, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri has gone ahead without taking States on board. He has said that even quarantine will not be necessary as these passengers will be thoroughly checked before they board the flights. He thinks Aaryogya Setu is a panacea for all ills.

The Union Health Minister is not convinced and he has issued his own set of guidelines. Likewise, many States like Tamil Nadu have decided to take all precautions, including quarantine of arriving passengers.