Calcutta airport sets up seperate facilities for fliers from coronavirus-hit zones – Telegraph India

Kolkata News

The Calcutta airport has segregated immigration counters and baggage belts for passengers arriving from coronavirus-affected countries.

Officials said the process of identifying passengers from such countries is taking time because Calcutta, unlike other metro cities, does not have direct air link with Europe and the US.

“Since last Sunday, we have designated four immigration counters only for passengers arriving from coronavirus-affected countries. Two of the six baggage carousals in the arrival area of the international section have been designated for those passengers,” airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya said on Tuesday.

“The passengers arriving from these countries are directed to these counters after health screening.”

Over the past couple of days, 1,000-1,200 passengers have been arriving from these countries. If any such passenger is found suffering from symptoms related to the coronavirus infection, he or she is being sent to the government-run hospital for infectious diseases in Beleghata.

The passengers who are not showing such symptoms are being asked to keep themselves quarantined at home for 14 days.

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation is monitoring the health of those passengers who are staying in the city.

A civil aviation ministry guideline had asked the airport authorities to set up separate immigration counters and baggage belts for passengers arriving from the affected countries.

Officials said the directorate general of civil aviation had added the US, Spain and France to the list of the affected countries. The others on the list include China, South Korea, Italy and Iran.

Airport sources said the advisory to have separate immigration and baggage collection facilities for passengers from affected countries was sent last week.

“Initially, there were some doubts about how to set up the facilities because passengers from the US and Europe come via other countries,” an official at the Calcutta airport said.

All passengers from abroad are being made to fill in a form where they have to state their itinerary in detail. “We are identifying passengers from coronavirus-affected countries from these forms,” an official at the airport said.

Calcutta lost its direct air link with Europe a few years back when British Airways and Lufthansa withdrew operations from the city because of low passenger count.

Qatar clarification

Officials said on Tuesday they were getting calls from passengers who wanted to know whether they would be able to fly Qatar Airways following the country’s ban on entry of passengers from India and other coronavirus-affected countries. A Qatar Airways spokesperson said such passengers would not be allowed to enter Doha but there was no ban on transit passengers.