With the Ministry of Civil Aviation(MoCA) having shown the green signal for resumption of domestic passenger flight services in most states from today, the Kolkata airport, too, is gearing up for flight operations from 28 May with several guidelines in place for handling of Covid-19 symptomatic and asymptomatic passengers, as per recommendations by the West Bengal government.

The Covid-19 lockdown that was in place since 25 March. However, though the Centre gave a nod to begin domestic flight services from today, states such as West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh are yet to resume flight services in airports in the respective states. The West Bengal government having decided that flight operations in the state will resume from 28 May, the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) airport has began preparing the airport for passenger services with Covid19 protocols in place.

The question bothering the passengers is what will be the Covid-19 protocols once they enter the Kolkata airport for arrival/departure since most states have already declared the process.

Clearing the air, sources in Kolkata airport told The Statesman that the state government has already sent an advisory concerning Covid-19 protocols that will be strictly followed for passenger handling in the airport. According to the advisory, all passengers shall undergo health screening at the point of departure and only ‘asymptomatic’ passengers shall be allowed to board the aircraft.

On arrival, health screening shall be done for all the passengers. The asymptomatic passengers will be permitted to go with the advice that they shall “self- monitor” their health for 14 days. In case they develop any symptoms, they shall inform the local medical officer or state call centre using contact number 1800313444222/033-2341 2600, 2357 3636/1083/1085 for medical interventions.

For symptomatic passengers, their samples will be collected for Covid-19 test.

They will be taken to the nearest health facility for sample collection and health condition assessment. Those with moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to the dedicated Covid health facility and managed accordingly.

Passengers with mild symptoms will be asked to go home or institutional isolation. Further medical interventions will be taken as per the test result. Adding to these, at airport, during boarding and travel all passengers shall use face covers/masks.

They will also need to follow hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and maintain social distancing norms. All passengers will be required to submit filled up self-declaration form at the time of arrival to the state health officials.

Regular sanitization / disinfection of the common surfaces shall be done at the airport. There should be adequate availability of soaps/sanitizers at different points in the airport.

Adequate publicity for maintenance of social distancing norms and health hygiene protocol should be done at the airport. A senior official at the NSCBI airport told The Statesman, “At the airport, the department officials will conduct thermal screening of all passengers and thereafter, as per state government guidelines, the needful will be done.”

The Statesman had reported on 12 May that the Kolkata airport had long begun preparations for handling passengers.

The initiatives include floor markings to maintain gap between individuals, sanitization inside airport premises including in the lavatories.