Coronavirus in India: Big alert for travellers! While various states are announcing lockdowns, all commercial domestic flights have been ordered to cease their operations from 11.59 pm on Tuesday, March 24. They have been further directed to plan and schedule their current operations so that they land at their destinations by 11.59 pm on March 24. The only flights exempted from this order are the fights which only carry cargo.
Earlier this month, after a significant spike in coronavirus cases across the globe, especially Europe, India had suspended all international in-bound passenger flights.
How does this help?
With this announcement, almost all states of the country have been placed under a lockdown. All trains, metros and inter-state passenger buses had also been cancelled by the government's starting from Monday, with flights and private vehicles remaining to be the only option for people to travel to other states. Now that flights have also been cancelled, it leaves the citizens with virtually no option to travel to other states.
This will strengthen India in its fight against the coronavirus. As India is on the verge of entering Stage 3, that is community transmission, of the pandemic, it is important to keep the movement of citizens to the bare minimum so that any spread of the virus can be avoided.
So far, India is on Stage 2 of the pandemic, and placing lockdowns is a proactive measure in this fight.
Even as the operations will be cancelled from midnight intervening Tuesday and Wednesday, the DGCA has issued some guidelines for the flights operating till 11.59 pm on Tuesday. Since social distancing is an important precaution, the DGCA has made it mandatory for airports and airlines to ensure that all passengers have a seat vacant between them. Moreover, a minimum distance of 1 metre has to be maintained between passengers at the check-in counters and during boarding of the flight also, staff has to ensure that passengers do not board all at the same time and have some distance between them.