The Calcutta airport authorities on Thursday started “special cleaning operations” in the domestic section in response to the rise in the number of coronavirus cases in India, officials said.
Till now, only the arrival area in the international section was being cleaned with disinfectants, as recommended by the health department.
“But from today, we are undertaking special cleaning operations in the security check-in counters of the domestic departure section, too,” an airport official said.
“This is the place where passengers stand close to one another in queues…. Every time a flight is departing, the cleaning personnel are mopping the counters.”
In the international section, every time a flight lands, the passengers are screened at the airport health office before they go through the immigration formalities. Once the passengers leave, the aerobridges, health-check kiosks and the immigration area are being wiped clean with disinfectants.
“We had been asking the authorities to start a similar cleaning drive in the domestic section, too, because of the rise in the number of coronavirus cases in India. But till yesterday, there was no such measure,” said an official. He, however, said the washrooms at the airport were not being cleaned with disinfectants.
Major airports across the world have taken up extensive cleaning drive to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We have not set up health-check kiosks in the domestic section because there is no advisory. But extensive cleaning measures are being taken up in both international and domestic sections,” said an official of the Mumbai airport.
Some of the airlines, too, said they were undertaking a special cleaning drive.
“All international flights are being treated with disinfectants post-disembarkation of passengers. During night halt of aircraft, extensive cleaning is done,” said a spokesperson for SpiceJet.
Vistara said it was continuously monitoring every flight in its network.
“If any suspected cases come to our attention, voluntarily or after being reported or observed by our crew (i.e. passengers exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus infection), our operation and maintenance control centres are immediately informed for action,” said a Vistara spokesperson.
The action includes sanitisation of the affected row in which the suspected coronavirus patient was sitting and three rows in front and behind it. The lavatories, sidewalls, tray tables, overhead compartments and carpets of the aircraft are also being sanitised.
An official of the Calcutta airport said the stress was on the international section because many passengers were arriving from coronavirus-affected countries. “The checks have to be stringent in the international section,” said the official.
The Telegraph has reported that the authorities have segregated immigration counters and baggage belts for passengers arriving from the countries affected by the coronavirus.