This is the second such instance in a little over a month
Hong Kong has suspended Air India from operating flights to its airport till October 3, after passengers travelling with the airline reported COVID-19 positive.
This is the second such instance of Hong Kong suspending Air India on August 18 "for carrying too many passengers infected with COVID-19." The suspension was valid till August 31.
The second ban has been put in place from September 20.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
Responding to a query from Moneycontrol, Air India official confirmed the development.
"Hong Kong civil aviation authority has advised AI not to operate for two weeks from September 20 to October 3," the official said, adding: "There is only one flight scheduled in two weeks, i.e Delhi- Hong Kong, on September 21. That flight is cancelled, and passengers have been informed."
The ban comes just days after the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority suspended Air India Express operations to the Dubai airport till October 2 after the airline allegedly carried a passenger who had tested positive for COVID-19. Later, the Dubai Authority had revoked the suspension.
The South China Morning Post further reported that Hong Kong has also temporarily barred Cathay Dragon, a regional international airline, from operating flights on the Kuala Lumpur route. Cathay Dragon has also been banned till October 3.The report added that five passengers on the airline had flown to Malaysia on an Air India Express service before connecting to Cathay Dragon.