No domestic flights from midnight; Punjab, Maha clamp curfew; 30 States/UTs enforce complete lockdown; land ports, seaports blocked
After suspending train services and international flights, the Centre on Monday suspended all domestic flights, effective midnight March 24 to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic. The Government also decided to block all immigration ports and seaports.
At the same time, Punjab and Maharashtra have decided to impose curfew while several other States have announced lockdown as part of efforts to ensure safety of the citizens.
These restrictions will not apply to cargo-carrying flights.
Metros, inter-State buses, private and public transport including buses, auto, taxis, e-rickshaws have already been banned, and the cancellation of flights will bring the country to a complete halt.
As many as 30 States and Union Territories have announced a complete lockdown. Other States and Union Territories have been placed under partial lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic while three have ordered the shutdown of some specific activities.
“Airlines have to plan operations so as to land at their destination before 11:59 pm on March 24, 2020,” the Ministry said in a statement.
Sharing this information, the Delhi Airport tweeted, “Passengers of the last international arriving flight have now exited the airport. Operations at T3 international arrivals will remain suspended till 05.31 hours of March 29, 2020.”
“We take this opportunity to thank all our airport employees and doctors for their commitment. Passengers are requested to get in touch with the airline concerned for updated flight info on international departing flights. #Coronavirus,” the Delhi Airport said in another tweet.
The official said all airlines will have to plan operations in such a way so that they are able to land by 11:59 pm on March 24. On Sunday, the Centre has overturned the Delhi Government decision that no flights would be allowed in or out of the Capital. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation had put out a clarification saying there would be no change in domestic flight operations. The Government’s latest decision to suspend domestic flights come after several States like Bihar and West Bengal reached out to the Central Government to stop flights to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier in the day, aviation sector regulator, Director General of Civil Aviation, said there are no restrictions on domestic and foreign air operators to carry out cargo operations. “Currently, there are no restrictions on domestic or foreign air operators for carrying out cargo operations at any airport in India. All stakeholders kindly note,” DGCA tweeted on Monday.
While States have shut down inter-State traffic, except carriers of essential commodities and sealed intra-city transport services, all private vehicles and citizens not engaged in essential services have been strictly asked to stay indoors. Section 144 of the Indian Panel Code has been imposed in several States and UTs.
Punjab on Monday became the first in the country to impose curfew, and only exempted essential services to prevent the infection, while Maharshtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray imposed curfew in the entire State from Monday midnight as the fight against coronavirus.
Delhi, Jharkhand, Goa, Assam, J&K, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tripura, Telangana and Nagaland Bihar, Haryana, UP and West Bengal declared lockdown. Chandigarh announced imposition of curfew.
Tuesday, 24 March 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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