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Domestic flights resume today


GUWAHATI, May 24 - Along with several other states, domestic flight operations would resume from tomorrow at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport here with strict quarantine SOP for the disembarking passengers and several other new air travel guidelines.

To begin with, as many as 28 flights will operate to and from Guwahati airport connecting Kolkata and other major cities. Other major airports in Northeast India will also resume operations, except Shillong which is expected to restart operations from next week.

�Around 28 flights will start operating from Guwahati airport on a daily basis and as per the new guidelines there will be sufficient time gaps between two flights. The first flight (Spice Jet) will fly around 6:20 am for Kolkata,� Sanjiv Jindal, Regional Executive Director (NER), Airports Authority of India.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma while stating that the passengers coming to the State in flights will be quarantined, insisted that the primary duty of the government was to ensure that the COVID-19 virus does not spread in the society.

However, there will be some exemptions. Those related to the flight operations, including the crew and people who will return on the same day will be exempted from quarantine.

Personnel on government duty, including defence personnel, will also be exempted provided they would stay in isolation wherever they put up and do not mix with the society.

Passengers who have come to see hospitalised parents, attend funerals of immediate relatives, persons above 75 years of age, pregnant woman, divyangs, parents with kids below ten years of age, those who have already been quarantined after return from foreign countries and people producing negative RT-PCR test results will be stamped and sent for home quarantine.

�Others will have to be in institutional quarantine. Hotels have been requisitioned in their home districts. The release of people from the facility quarantine will be decided by the medical discharge board,� the Health Minister said.

Sarma said the State government was not clear as to how many passengers would arrive in the flights. �The list of passengers would be shared four hours prior to the take-off. We are not able to plan as of now due to the uncertainty. Tomorrow, both the government and the passengers will have a hectic day. Even if we presume that around 2,000 passengers will arrive, it would take 24 hours to complete the screening process,� he said.

The quarantine facility arranged in the city hotels can accommodate around 1,000 people. Those opting for high end hotels like Taj, Novotel or Radisson Blu will have to pay for it.

�We will be able to plan the screening and other strategy better after two-three days when we get a pattern of the arrivals. Once the hotels exhaust their capacity, we will go for other facilities at our disposal like guest houses, or even universities and colleges,� the minister said.

The passengers will be taken to their home districts in ASTC buses.

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