SpiceJet said on Sunday that one of its pilots who did not fly any international flight in March has tested positive for the coronavirus.
"One of our colleagues, a first officer with SpiceJet, has tested positive for COVID-19. The test report came on March 28. He did not operate any international flight in March 2020," a spokesperson of the airline told PTI.
"The last domestic flight that he operated was on March 21 from Chennai to Delhi and since then he had quarantined himself at home," the spokesperson added.
As a precautionary measure, the spokesperson said, all crew and staff who had been in direct contact with him have been asked to self-quarantine by staying at home for the next 14 days.
More than 970 people have tested positive for the virus and 25 of them have died because of it till now in India, according to health ministry data.
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.
The spokesperson said, "All measures are being taken to provide appropriate medical care to him. Safety of our passengers and employees is our topmost priority."
India is currently under a 21-day lockdown till April 14 to stop the spread of the COVID-19, and consequently, all international and domestic flights have been suspended for this period."We have been diligently following the guidelines issued by the WHO and the government of India. All our aircraft are being disinfected thoroughly since the end of January and the disinfectants used are as per the WHO standards," the spokesperson said.