The old domestic terminal at Kolkata airport has been converted into an air-conditioned dormitory-style quarantine centre for Indians arriving from overseas by Vande Bharat flghts.
The terminal that had been used only for arriving fights during Haj since March 2013, when operations were shifted to the integrated terminal, has been remodelled into a sprawling 30,000 sq-ft ward, with 400 beds arranged in rows and columns with 2-metre space between them. Washrooms have also been upgraded with shower cubicles. In all, 30 people can bathe at a time.
The state health department requisitioned the terminal from the Airports Authority of India and the job of transforming the facility was given to a private contractor, led by Brig (retd) Balbir Singh. “We were asked to complete the facility by May 22. We met the deadline despite the cylone striking the city on May 20. The entire area has been cleaned up and disinfected. There is a pantry area, where food will be brought in to be served to those staying in the facility. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner will be provided to the quarantined passengers,” said Singh. He added that there was space to add 250-300 more beds in the arrival hall without compromising on social-distancing norms. “If the facility is extended to the old international terminal, 700 more beds can be added,” he said.
The ministry of health and family welfare has in a revised guideline made seven-day paid quarantine mandatory for international passengers arriving in India. This will be followed by seven days of home isolation. Only in exceptional cases, like for pregnant women, people with serious illness and parents accompanied by children below 10 years, will be allowed home isolation 14 days.
Once operations start in Kolkata airport from Thursday, people arriving by domestic flights will not be quarantined unless they display symptoms. Symptomatic flyers will be transported to the Covid facility in New Town for swab tests and assessment. Those with mild symptoms will be allowed to return home and stay in isolation for 14 days. Those with severe symptoms will be taken to the New Town facility.
While departing, only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed into the terminal after thermal scan. But if a person develops symptoms after that and is detected at the boarding gate, he or she will be kept in a quarantined area before the health department staff transports him or her to a Covid facility for swab test and health assessment.
Source: Times of India