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‘Extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in red zone’: Maharashtra Home Minister

Earlier on May 22, Tamil Nadu government had asked the Centre to not restart flights in the state until May 31 due to the sudden rise in the Coronavirus cases. Due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the state capital Chennai, the state government has asked the the Ministry of Civil Aviation to defer the move.

SNS | New Delhi |

Even as domestic flights will recommence in “calibrated manner” from May 25, as the Centre had announced, two months after commercial airlines ceased operations in view of the Coronavirus pandemic, after Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra too is reluctant to restart it in Mumbai as it is the worst affected state from COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh took to Twitter and said, “It’s extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in red zone. Mere thermal scanning of passengers inadequate without swabs. Impossible to have autos, cabs and buses ply in current circumstances. Adding positive passenger will add COVID stress to red zone.”

“Getting passengers to come from a green zone to a red one putting them to risk of exposure doesn’t make sense. Keeping a busy airport up and running with all COVID-safety measures will need huge staff presence and compound risk in the red zone,”  said Deshmukh.

The state government on Saturday said that it hasn’t updated its May 19 lockdown order that says only special flights would be allowed, which suggests that it is reluctant to let people from outside enter the state amid lockdown.

Earlier on May 22, Tamil Nadu government had asked the Centre to not restart flights in the state until May 31 due to the sudden rise in the Coronavirus cases. Due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the state capital Chennai, the state government has asked the the Ministry of Civil Aviation to defer the move.

Union Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said he does not understand the need to quarantine domestic air passengers once flight operations start from Monday if they have downloaded the Government’s contract-tracing app Aarogya Setu and the status on it shows “Green”.

The statement comes as the governments of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Assam, and the administration of Jammu and Kashmir have decided that arriving passengers will have to stay in quarantine despite the Centre advising it.