The Tamil Nadu government has asked the Centre not to restart domestic flights till May 31, when the nationwide lockdown imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus is scheduled to end, The Times of India reported on Friday. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had announced on Wednesday that some domestic flights will begin to operate from May 25.

Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary K Shanmugam told The Times of India that the state will write to the Ministry of Civil Aviation. “We cannot handle the passengers,” he said. “They are talking about 60 flights a day, which means 12,000 passengers a day. All of them must be tested and put into institutional quarantine as per protocol. For that, we will require two lakh quarantine facilities. Testing 12,000 passengers a day is impossible.”

Tamil Nadu is one of the states that has been badly affected by the coronavirus. As of Friday morning, the state had reported 13,967 infections, including 94 deaths, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

But Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday that the passengers need not be quarantined. On the same day, Assam Minister of Health Himanta Biswa Sarma said the state will quarantine passengers flying in for 14 days.

Tamil Nadu has also asked the Centre to send in just four evacuation flights every day, along with “Shramik Special” trains and Rajdhani Express twice a week. Last week, at least 10 flights landed in Chennai and Tiruchirappali from Dubai, Kuwait, Muscat, Kuala Lumpur, Chicago, Dhaka, Manila and London.

The state and the Centre had last week locked horns over who will quarantine the passengers arriving by the Rajdhani Express to Chennai.

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