Airlines have been asked to ensure that passengers wear masks inside planes and maintain hand hygiene, aviation regulator DGCA said today in view of the rising number of Covid cases in Delhi. In case a passenger refuses to comply, strict action, including deboarding, can be taken by the airline.
Airlines have to ensure that passengers are wearing face masks properly throughout the journey and ensure proper sensitisation through various platforms, the regulator said.
Surprise inspections are to be carried out at airports and on airlines and passengers, the DGCA said.
Pointing to a circular issued in June, the aviation regulator said there should be strict compliance.
Under the orders issued in June, face masks can be removed only under exceptional circumstances and for permitted reasons. Airports were asked to increase surveillance -- entry was to be denied to anyone not wearing a mask. Proper sanitization measures, including provision of sanitisers at prominent locations inside the airport, were also advised.
In March, the mask rules in Delhi were relaxed with the scrapping of the Rs 500 fine for violation. The decision was taken by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority following a sustained low positivity rate of Coronavirus.
Practically overnight, mask-less faces on the roads became the norm.
But over the last couple of weeks, the virus appeared to have gained an edge, with the cases of hospitalisation and death increasing steadily.
Since August 1, hospitalisations in Delhi have gone up by more than 60 per cent. The positivity rate stands at 19.20 per cent, the highest in over 200 days, data show.
A majority of the admissions took place on Tuesday when the national capital reported 900 cases. In the evening, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena requested people to maintain Covid-appropriate behaviour.
"We are witnessing a rise in COVID-19 infections, consistently high positivity and cases of reinfection. It is essential that we realise that the pandemic is far from over. I appeal to all to strictly adhere to COVID Appropriate Behaviour. We cannot afford to let our guards down," his tweet read.