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Etihad gets showcause notice for violating Covid rules

December 06, 2021 20:07 IST

The New Delhi district authorities on Monday issued a show-cause notice to Etihad Airways for allegedly violating the Centre's guidelines for international passenger arrivals at the IGI airport here, amid concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

A reply to the notice has been sought from the station manager of the airlines within 24 hours.

The notice by Vasant Vihar sub-divisional magistrate stated the norm of random testing of two per cent passengers was "not followed" in two flights of Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi that landed at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in Delhi on Sunday and Monday.

"A sub-section (2 per cent of the total flight passengers) will undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival. The 2 per cent of such travellers in each flight will be identified by the concerned airlines (preferably from different countries)," the notice stated.

"It has come to notice that the above directions were not followed by you," it said citing the two flights from Abu Dhabi.

The station manager of the airlines has been asked to reply to the show-cause notice within 24 hours.

"Non-compliance shall be viewed seriously, and it would be presumed that the station manager has nothing to say in the matter and action as deemed fit shall be initiated as per relevant provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005; Section 188 of IPC and other applicable laws," it said.

Recently, three other airliners were issued notices by the district authorities for different violations of guidelines for international arrivals.

The Union Health Ministry in its 'Guidelines for International Arrivals' has stipulated that two per cent of passengers coming from countries that are not in the 'at-risk' category will be tested for COVID-19 on a random basis at the airports.

Passengers originating or transiting from "at-risk" countries will have to undergo an RT-PCR test after arrival and will be required to wait for the results at the airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight, according to the guidelines that came into effect from December 1.

If tested negative, they will have to be in home quarantine for seven days and will undergo a re-test on the eighth day of arrival in India. If again negative, self-monitor of health would continue for seven more days, it said.

However, if such travellers test positive for COVID-19, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network. They shall be managed at a separate isolation facility. Contacts of such cases should be kept in institutional quarantine or at home quarantine monitored strictly by the state government concerned, the guidelines said.

Countries in Europe, including the UK, and South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Israel have been placed in the 'at-risk' category by the Union Health Ministry.

Delhi reported its first case of the Omicron variant on Sunday. A 37-year-old man who arrived in Delhi from Tanzania tested positive for Omicron. According to officials, he has been admitted to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital and has mild symptoms.

So far, 21 cases of the Omicron variant, which has been designated as a 'variant of concern' by the World Health Organisation, has been detected in India.

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