As a precautionary measure against the rapid spread of Covid-19, the Government of India on March 19 announced that it will not allow any scheduled international commercial flight to land in India beginning March 22nd up to a period of one week.
At a press conference, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said, “No commercial aircraft shall land in India after midnight falling between March 21 and March 22 till midnight falling between March 28 and March 29. These are temporary measures being announced to contain the spread of Covid-19 virus and will be reviewed later.”
Previously, to curb the pandemic in Stage II, the government had announced the suspension of visas of all passengers coming from Covid-19 hit countries – China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, Spain, France and Germany. Later, it also barred the entry of passengers from the European Union (EU), European Free Trade Association, Turkey and the United Kingdom (UK) as another step to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The travel of passengers from Afghanistan, Phillipines and Malaysia was also prohibited.
#DGCA issues order relating no scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft to take off from any foreign airport for India after 0530 IST of March 22, 2020 #CoronavirusPandemic pic.twitter.com/4IQDdPswPQ
— Neeta Sharma (@NEETAS11) March 19, 2020
— PIB India (@PIB_India) March 19, 2020
Apart from this, it also announced that the railways and civil aviation shall suspend all concessional travel, except for students, patients and the divyang category. It also asked all Group B and C central government employees to attend offices on alternate weeks and work as per staggered timings.
Keeping public safety in mind, the government has also issued advisories asking people from vulnerable age groups, those above 65 years of age and children below 10 years of age, to stay at home and has also asked all private sector employers, except those in essential services to allow their employees to work from home.
Airlines like Vistara and SpiceJet have suspended most of their international flights. Ronojoy Dutta, the CEO of IndiGo airlines wrote a letter to his staff announcing pay cuts for himself and all employees, except for Band A and B employees (the lowest brackets in the salary class) due to the drop in revenues, reported Outlook India. Air India, the national carrier of India is likely to follow suit and announce a 5 percent pay cut for all its employees across the board.
The current number of Covid-19 positive cases in India currently stands at 200 after 13 new cases from the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. While four people have passed away due to the pandemic, 14 people have recovered and been discharged.