DGCA, the Indian Aviation Regulator asked all Indian airlines on Wednesday to strictly enforce the COVID-19 protocol, including the mask mandate for passengers, in aircraft. This is in response to an increase in coronavirus cases in the country.
The Director General of Civil Aviation is urging flight operators to ensure that all passengers wear face masks at all times during the flight and that the airline maintains the required sanitization of the aircraft.
Furthermore, the DGCA stated that if a passenger refuses to comply with the Covid-19 protocols, strict action will be taken against the passenger.
Previously, the DGCA stated that passengers who do not wear masks on the flight may be treated as ‘unruly’.
The DGCA in a statement said that it would conduct “random checks” in aircraft across the country to determine whether or not the COVID-19 protocol is being followed.
The aviation regulator previously warned that such passengers would be removed from the aircraft prior to departure if they were discovered without a face mask and not behaving in a COVID-appropriate manner.
The DGCA also stated that CISF personnel will be in charge of enforcing mask guidelines at airports.
The new DGCA guidelines were issued just days after the Delhi High Court ordered the agency to take harsh measures against passengers who refuse to comply with Covid safety standards.
The high court issued a strict order on June 3rd, stating that the pandemic was not yet over. “If the passenger refuses to follow protocol despite reminders, action should be taken under health ministry or DGCA guidelines,” it said.
According to the court, they can be physically removed, placed on a “no-fly” list, or handed over to security agencies for further action. “The issuance of the said order is the right step because the pandemic has not abated and continues to rear its ugly head,” the court noted.
According to Union Health Ministry data, India recorded 9,062 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, bringing the total to 4,42,86,256, while the number of active cases fell to 1,05,058.