An Air India flight from Leh to Srinagar was told to turn back this morning when it was halfway to its destination. Reason - an order from the Jammu and Kashmir administration that anyone flying into the Srinagar airport has to undergo compulsory 14-day quarantine in view of the coronavirus threat.
In Jammu, all passengers have to undergo compulsory isolation. Passengers with a travel history or those in contact with anyone with a travel history will be quarantined, sources said.
The AI 448 from Leh to Srinagar, which was to land at 9.45 am, was told to return on the instructions of the Airport Director. After 25 passengers got off, the rest returned to Srinagar.
A senior government official told NDTV that the passengers who got off were not ready for self-quarantine.
Earlier today, a Ladakh Scout personnel tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, following which, his entire garrison in Leh was put under lockdown. Although normal work of the garrison continues during a lockdown, the entry and exit of soldiers is not allowed. There are about 800 soldiers at the Regimental Centre.
The UT administration has now made it mandatory for all those coming from Leh, Ladakh and Kargil to undergo the 14 day quarantine period.
Earlier entry of all foreigners was also restricted in JK on orders of District Magistrate (Srinagar) Shahid Choudhary.
Till date, eight cases of COVID-19 have been reported from Leh Ladakh and Kargil areas. "All cases either have travel history to Iran or have contact history with the ones who have travel history," said a senior official in Ladakh administration.
According to him, all have been placed in isolation wards and the doctors say their condition is stable. As per latest data, the UT administration is awaiting results of 100 more patients. "We are following the guidelines of the Government of India on this issue regarding isolation, treatment and other issues," he adds.