After 47 passengers on a Vistara flight from Delhi to Hong Kong on April 4 tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival, Hong Kong banned all flights from India.
New Zealand has just done the same for all Indian flights and Macau has imposed a 28-day quarantine for arrivals from India which many will say seems lenient in comparison.
All of the passengers aboard the Vistara flight would have had to submit current Covid-19 negative tests to have been able to board their flight in the first place.
This indicates that either: their test results were fake; they were asymptomatic before boarding; or they caught the virus during the flight.
Many authorities are asking what this means for the reopening of international air travel, and how they can ensure that passengers can fly with confidence.
For India is not the only country where infected passengers flying or trying to fly is a problem.
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal has appealed to Filipinos to stop taking risks with their and other passengers’ health, reports the Manila Bulletin.
Based on MIAA records, a total of 138 passengers have been intercepted this year at the different security and airline checkpoints of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Manila’s main international airport, for having positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results in the period from Jan 1 to April 15, 2021.
“Let us not take chances. The airport security and airline check-in staff will always check on your requirements,” Monreal said.
The passengers denied boarding gave a handful of reasons why they still went to the airport to catch their flights despite being potential Covid-19 spreaders.
The most common excuse passengers try, according to authorities, is that they only learned about their test results upon arriving at the airport.
Others claimed that they brought their test result with them but did not bother to look at it.
Others claimed they were told to proceed to NAIA and wait for their test results there.
Monreal expressed deep concern over this “utter disregard for safety guidelines”.
He advised passengers to be responsible travellers.