No domestic commercial flights will operate in India from Wednesday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Monday as the number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 415. Domestic scheduled commercial airlines have been asked to cease operations from 11.59 pm on Tuesday. The operation of domestic cargo flights, however, will, continue as usual.
Last week, the Centre had announced that no international flights will be allowed to land in India from March 22 as a way to curb entry of foreigners to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Earlier on Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued a set of guidelines on social distancing to all domestic air carriers, asking them to ensure that passengers are seated in alternate seats during flights.
The aviation authority also directed all air operators to ensure that there is one-metre space between passengers at check-in counters and to make sure that there is no bunching of people during boarding, exiting or security check.
Earlier in the day, West Bengal Chief Minister had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concern that the continued operation of flights was a “huge breach” of the lockdown imposed by the government to check the spread of coronavirus. She urged him to stop all flights coming in to the state so the lockdown could be imposed in “letter and spirit”.
Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has killed seven people and infected 415 in India. Over 80 Indian districts that have confirmed coronavirus cases or deaths went into lockdown on Monday.