Administration is not going to restrict passenger flight services: Secretary (IP&T), Shri Sunil Kumar Singh; Citizens feel it might be a big blunder by the A&N Administration
Port Blair, May 26: The Secretary (IP&T), Shri Sunil Kumar Singh in the press conference at IP&T today said that 2 flights with 283 passengers arrived here and samples for RTPCR test was taken from all passengers and asked the passengers to remain in home quarantine. He further informed that it has been decided to check passengers for COVID-19 with Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) instead of Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), as RTPCR is considered more accurate laboratory method for detecting COVID-19 infections. Answering a query by scribes, the Secretary (IP&T) said A&N Administration don't have any such plan to stop passenger flight services as of now.
On the other hand, citizens of these islands demand to keep restrictions on passenger flight services too, apart from the complete lockdown imposed in South Andaman to keep a check on the growing numbers of Covid-19 cases. A&N Administration has imposed a complete lockdown upto May 31, 2021 for the safety of islanders by restricting internal movement of vehicle, boats and unnecessary movement of public. Consequently, many labourers, auto drivers, petty businessmen, street vendors and private works are facing difficulty in managing their ends meet during lockdown period. Some opine that, the Administration would have closed the flight operations by looking at the explosion of Covid-19 cases in mainland India since April as the second wave stronger variant of Covid-19 is taking a tough toll on the people.
Citizens further allege that, "the passenger flight services are continued unaffectedly, and approximately 2 to 4 flights are flying with about 300 to 400 passengers daily, which is of great concern for the islanders. As the virus is not germinated in these A&N Islands, but carried from outside, and it is mutating strongly and if once any further stronger variant enters into these islands the situation may change drastically here by no fault of islanders".
"As the RTPCR is considered more accurate laboratory method for detecting COVID-19 infections, but it takes time to get the test report of it, till then the passengers are allowed to go home and asked to remain quarantine may turn to be a big blunder by the A&N Administration. As we are aware that the Administration has kept around 5583 isolation beds readily available in the South Andaman District, then why can't the Administration manage the isolation beds for passengers until the result of the report comes out?", the citizens questions the Administration.
Some sections in the society says, "in view of the pandemic situation we have alerted ourselves and trying as much as possible to refrain from moving outside, and we are not even thinking about air travel. But, who are they and what is the purpose during this pandemic travelling by flights?"