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Coronavirus lockdown | Flight restrictions to be lifted only after COVID-19 spread under control: Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri

Hardeep Singh Puri wrote on Twitter: "Flight restrictions will be lifted once we are confident that spread of the virus has been controlled and it poses no danger to our country and people."

April 20, 2020 / 01:11 PM IST

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri took to Twitter on April 20 to reiterate that no flights would operate until the spread of the novel coronavirus disease is controlled effectively by the government. His comments came after media reports suggested some airlines had opened flight bookings starting May 4, expecting the lockdown to be lifted by then.

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Slamming airlines such as Go Air, Vistara and Air Asia, among others, for opening passenger flight ticket bookings despite not receiving any official communication allowing them to do so, Puri wrote on Twitter that the Aviation Ministry will “consider lifting restrictions” only after the lockdown ends.

Clarifying his stance once again, he wrote:

Airlines fall in line, shut bookings for now; SpiceJet, GoAir to open from May 16


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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 Notably, all airlines stopped accepting bookings starting May 4 after getting rapped by the DGCA. However, IndiGo and Vistara are now taking flight ticket bookings from June 01, while SpiceJet and GoAir have opened ticket bookings from May 16.

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Jagyaseni Biswas

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