The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday told airports to consider levying spot fines, with the help of the police, on people who do not adhere to coronavirus-related guidelines such as wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing.

“The possibility of taking punitive action, such as levy of spot fines in accordance with the law, shall also be explored with the local police authorities so as to serve a deterrent for violation of Covid-19 protocol,” the aviation regulator said in a circular.

The aviation regulator also directed airports to enhance surveillance to ensure that coronavirus norms are followed. “During the surveillance of some airports, it has come to notice that compliance [of DGCA’s earlier orders] is not satisfactory,” the circular said. “All airport operators, therefore, are requested to ensure that the instructions on Covid-19 protocol from the standpoint of wearing masks properly, covering nose and mouth, as well as maintaining social distance norms within the airport premises are followed scrupulously.”

The new directive was issued because airports and airlines did not comply with the DGCA’s previous orders dated March 13 and 15, according to the circular.

On March 13, the aviation regulator had issued guidelines saying that passengers who do not wear masks properly despite repeated warnings will be de-boarded. It had also said that such flyers may be treated as “unruly passengers”. This came after the Delhi High Court had issued guidelines for immediate compliance to all airlines and the DGCA to take action against passengers who fail to follow protocols.

On March 15, the DGCA had asked airlines to ensure strict compliance with its earlier order, besides providing the March 13 directive to passengers in a digitised form.

Senior officials of the aviation regulator had said last week that 15 passengers, who were found violating coronavirus norms on domestic flights of three airlines in March, may be banned for three months by the carriers, reported NDTV.

India on Tuesday reported 56,211 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally to 1,20,95,855. Daily deaths rose by 271 and the virus has so far killed 1,62,114 people. As many as 1,13,93,021 people have recovered from the infection. The active cases rose for the 20th straight day to 5,40,720.