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Domestic Flights Resume From May 25: Aarogya Setu app, masks & gloves and thermal screening is now compulsory

Here's what you will need to do in order to board a flight beginning May 25.

May 21, 2020 / 11:01 AM IST

Following a near two-month complete shutdown due to COVID-19, Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday said commercial flights will resume beginning May 25. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is set to issue several guidelines to be followed for airlines and flyers.

Compulsory registration on Aarogya Setu app, use of masks and gloves, and thermal screening are some of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that the AAI is expected to issue to airlines and airport operators.

Moneycontrol has seen the internal note prepared by the AAI.

On the Aarogya Setu app, AAI has however clarified that it's not mandatory for children below 14 years old. At the same time, passengers not showing 'green' on the app will not be allowed to enter the airport terminal.

The SoPs come a day after the government announced resumption of domestic flights from May 25.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Guidelines for passengers

The AAI, according to the note, has advised passengers to report to the airport at least two hours before the scheduled departure of their flight. In addition, only those passengers who have flights in the next four hours, will be allowed to enter the terminal.

At the entrance, there will be mats and carpets that will be soaked with bleach to disinfect shoes.

Airports will have separate screening zones, where passengers will be checked for any COVID-19 symptoms.

It may be best to carry minimal luggage, as operators may restrict the use of trolleys to only those passengers requiring them for "genuine reasons."

Throughout the terminal, there will be sanitizers at several points, and social distancing markings. Seating will be restricted, and most of the F&B outlets will be take-aways.

The retailers have been told to promote use of digital payment to ensure touchless transactions. Also, there will be no newspapers or magazines, even in lounges.

Be prepared for a longer boarding, with both, airline and airport, executives keeping a close watch on social distancing.

Upon arrival too, disembarking will be in smaller batches.

Your luggage will be sanitised before being put on the conveyor belt. And as you wait for yours, be prepared for further social distancing norms.

Prince Mathews Thomas heads the corporate bureau of Moneycontrol. He has been covering the business world for 16 years, having worked in The Hindu Business Line, Forbes India, Dow Jones Newswires, The Economic Times, Business Standard and The Week. A Chevening scholar, Prince has also authored The Consolidators, a book on second generation entrepreneurs.
first published: May 21, 2020 09:04 am

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