AGENCIES, New Delhi: No domestic flights will operate from Tuesday midnight, the government has announced, in a massive step in India’s fight to check the spread of coronavirus.
Airlines have to plan operations so as to land at their destination before 11.59 pm on Tuesday, the government said. Only cargo flights will be allowed. International flights had already been banned for a week.
The government’s announcement came as the number of coronavirus cases rose to 415 on Monday. There have been eight deaths including the recent death of a 55-year-old man in West Bengal.
On Sunday, the Centre had countered Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal when he said no flights would be allowed in or out of the capital. On Monday, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to stop flights to Bengal. She was the second CM after Kejriwal who was persistent and asked the PM to stop all international and domestic flights to the country and Bengal. Even, when the PM recently conducted a video conference with the chief ministers of all states, Mamata raised the topic again.
…we are seriously concerned that the government of India is still allowing operation of flights causing a huge breach of shutdown and quarantine protocol with no arrangement of social distancing that we are so painfully managing in the state,” Mamata wrote in her letter to the Prime Minister on Monday.
“I would therefore, request you to kindly arrange to issue necessary instructions to stop all flights coming to West Bengal with immediate effect so that the source of spreading infection is effectively contained and lockdown in the state is implemented in true letter and spirit,” the letter further read.