Aviation regulator DGCA has stopped the pre-flight breathalyzer (BA) test for the aircrew operating out of Kerala’s four airports during the next 15 days in the wake of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak.
The breathalyzer (BA) test measures whether a person is drunk or not.
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“The mandatory BA test for flight crew who are operating out of Kerala’s airports has been stopped for the next 15 days in light of coronavirus situation,” a senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
He, however, added that the crew working in flights departing from any one of Kerala’s four airports – Calicut, Kannur, Trivandrum and Cochin – will compulsorily undergo post-flight BA tests at the next immediate city where they land.
India has so far reported three novel coronavirus cases, all from Kerala. The Indians tested positive for the disease are students who recently returned from China’s Wuhan city, the epicentre of the virus outbreak.
The virus has spread rapidly since emerging late last year in China, killing more than 800 people in the mainland and infecting over 37,000. Cases have been reported in two dozen other countries.
The DGCA had stated on Saturday that foreigners who have been to China on or after January 15 won’t be allowed to enter India.
The aviation regulator, in its circular to airlines on Saturday, reiterated that all visas issued to Chinese nationals before February 5 have been suspended.
However, it clarified, “These visa restrictions will not apply to aircrew, who may be Chinese nationals or other foreign nationalities coming from China.”
Among the Indian airlines, IndiGo and Air India have suspended all their flights between the two countries. SpiceJet, however, continues to fly on the Delhi-Hong Kong route.
On February 1 and February 2, Air India had conducted two special flights to Wuhan, evacuating 647 Indians and seven Maldivians.