Nineteen passengers travelling on Air India’s Delhi-Wuhan flight tested positive for Coronavirus on arrival in Wuhan on October 30. Additionally, around 40 of the 277 passengers flying to Wuhan were found to have Covid antibodies.
It remains to be seen whether this will impact other flights Air India plans to operate to China under the Vande Bharat Mission. China’s special administrative region of Hong Kong will suspend airlines for 14 days if five or more passengers on a single flight tests positive for the cornavirus on arrival.
“All our passengers to Wuhan had boarded the flight from Delhi with Covid negative reports from certified labs. Air India strictly adheres to all the safety protocol laid down by regulatory bodies and conforms to requirements at destination airports. There is no question of passengers boarding any of our flights without valid covid negative reports,” said an AI spokesperson.
So far, India’s national carrier has operated six flights to China during the pandemic, with the first two on January 31 and February 1 to fly back Indians from Wuhan. AI has planned more flights to operate as a significant number of Indians are still in China.
The Indian embassy in Beijing issued a statement on Monday, stating that Air India is planning to operate four Vande Bharat flights to Delhi on November 13, 20, 27 and December 4. The October 30 flight saw 277 Indians flying from Delhi to Wuhan and 157 on the return trip. “Those who tested positive for Covid in Wuhan have been hospitalized there,” officials said.