Two Calcuttans who were in Germany last month were cleared on arrival at the city airport on Monday morning, but allegedly received frantic calls and threat of an FIR just as they were about to reach home.
The health unit of the airport that had allowed the duo to leave allegedly wanted them to report immediately to a quarantine centre set up by the state government in New Town.
The two friends — both in their 20s — went to the New Town campus of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI), which has been turned into a quarantine facility.
But the two-and-a-half hours at the quarantine facility proved to be a traumatic experience, the duo told Metro after they were finally allowed to leave the New Town unit.
“There was no water, the chairs were dusty, the toilets were stinking and there was no handwash or sanitiser in the toilet,” one of them alleged. “I appreciate the initiative taken by the government, but they have to provide proper facilities to passengers who are being taken to the quarantine centre.”
The two youths reached Calcutta on a flight from Dubai on Monday morning. All passengers on the flight had to fill in two sets of questionnaires where they had to mention places visited during the trip and whether they had fever or a cough among other things.
On arrival, the passengers were segregated and two separate queues made. “Since we had been to Germany recently, we were asked to stand apart,” he said.
Another round of questioning later, the two were allowed to go. They were at Chingrighata when they received a call from the airport.
The caller asked why the two had left the airport and the youth who took the call said no one had at the airport had asked them to stay back after the screening.
The duo were allegedly told an FIR would be filed against them if they didn’t go back to the airport or report at the quarantine centre in New Town.
“I don’t know why he was talking about lodging an FIR. It was their fault that they allowed us to leave the airport. No one told us that we had to stay back,” the youth said.
A senior health department official attributed the incident to teething troubles. “These problems have been addressed and we expect things to improve from Tuesday,” he said.
The duo promised the caller that they would report at the quarantine centre because “as responsible citizens” they “did not want anyone to suffer because of them”. They were told that doctors were waiting at the facility and that they would be given food as well as Wi-Fi if they wanted.
The youths reached the New Town facility around 11am and the scene there turned out to be starkly different from what they had been promised.
They were asked to wait on the ground floor of a building. “The floor and chairs were dusty. There were discarded gloves lying on the chairs. We asked for water but there was not a drop available, forget about any food,” the other youth said.
The two alleged that there were people walking in and out of the room every now and then, some of them with masks and some without. The unrestricted access to the room did not suggest it was a quarantine centre.
“A lady came and checked our blood pressure after 45 minutes,” said the youth.
A doctor arrived around 12.30pm.
“He was the first man who could explain why we were taken there. He asked us about our travel history and whether we had fever or a cough,” the youth said.
The doctor then asked all those categorised “type C” or “low-risk” to leave but to remain in home quarantine, away from family members. They were also told that a government representative would check on them every day.