Kolkata Airport has said that no flights will operate from the city to other urban centres including Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai from July 6 to July 19, 2020 or further order.
In a tweet posted on July 4, the airport stated: “It is informed that no flights shall operate to Kolkata from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai & Ahmedabad from 6th to 19th July 2020 or till further order whichever is earlier. Inconvenience caused is regretted.”
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The move is being seen as a way to contain spread of the novel coronavirus, as COVID-19 cases in West Bengal continue to rise.
The number of COVID-19 cases in West Bengal crossed the 20,000-mark as the state reported its highest single-day spike of 669 new infections on July 3, according to a bulletin issued by the state Health Department.
The fresh cases pushed the virus count to 20,488 in the state. With this, the state also reported the highest number of fatalities on a single day at 18, raising the death toll to 717, the bulletin said.
Nishant Pitti, CEO of EasemyTrip.com, however, felt the move is counterproductive.
“With the increasing number of cases in West Bengal, the government had requested for ban on flights from certain states to Kolkata. This move is in opposite direction to the move of central government of Unlock 2.0 to open economy for income generation,” he said.
Pitti added that since essential travel is still allowed, people desperate enough will find a way regardless. “Only essential travel is taking place these days and with people with desperate desire will find other ways, including road and others, to travel to the desired place. Hence, this move will have very limited impact on the spread of virus, but will definitely add to a lot of chaos for the public in general.”Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here