TN clears air, notifies SOP for domestic air travel

Coronavirus Lockdown: Tamil Nadu clears air, notifies SOP for domestic air travel

A medic takes samples from an Indian national arriving from Myanmar at Anna International Airport, during the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, in Chennai (PTI Photo)

Ending uncertainty over resumption of domestic flight services in Tamil Nadu from tomorrow, the state government late on Sunday said it has allowed flights to Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirappalli and notified the Standard Operating Procedure for air travel which stipulates, among other norms, 14 days of home quarantine and an e-pass for entry into the State.

The Tamil Nadu government apprised the Centre that incoming domestic flights to Chennai can be restricted to 25 per day.

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"Flights to Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirappalli can be operated," Chief Secretary K Shanmugam told the Centre in a letter.

Due to high number of virus cases, flights from Gujarat and Maharashtra may be kept at the barest minimum level and "there is no issue for operating any number of outgoing flights from Tamil Nadu," Shanmugam said.

The SOP, which has separate norms for incoming and outgoing passengers and procedures to be followed at the airport said asymptomatic people shall undergo home quarantine for 14 days. It said if air journey was undertaken without meeting the eligibility criteria they would be liable for penal action.

CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL COVERAGE ONLY ON DH

Passengers who do not have a residence in Tamil Nadu and opting for paid quarantine, shall be sent to designated hotels for institutional quarantine, a Government Order on SOP said.

Earlier in the day, there was uncertainty over flight operations since the state government had at that time not notified the SOP.

The order said people who were found symptomatic will be isolated and taken to the nearest health facility and then subjected to confirmatory RT-PCR test.

Those testing positive for COVID-19 and having moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to a hospital or a health centre and people with mild symptoms will be given the option of home isolation.

Those who test negative for the virus shall be in home quarantine for 14 days.

Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases, deaths on May 25

Also, the government made it clear that all air passengers flying into Tamil Nadu should obtain a "TN e-pass" through the TN e-pass portal by agreeing to conditions that are set out in the form of a declaration. The e-pass travel permit will be issued with a QR code.

Among the riders are that they were not from any containment zones and they had not tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two months and undertake to adhere to all the norms of the State government.

If the passengers do not fulfill such conditions, they will not be eligible to travel to Tamil Nadu.

"All passengers will be stamped with quarantine seal with date with indelible ink before they are allowed to move out of the airport."

Temperature checking, carrying out disinfection of luggage were among the procedures detailed for implementation at the airports.

Outward travellers will be screened and only those without symptoms for the virus shall be allowed to board the flight, the government said.

Tamil Nadu had opposed allowing domestic flight operations till May 31 in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state.

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