400-bed quarantine centre set up at Calcutta airport
A portion of the city airport’s old domestic terminal has been converted into a Covid-19 quarantine centre with around 400 beds.
The beds have been placed in the erstwhile arrival area on the ground floor of the building.
“The state government had requested for space to set up a quarantine centre. We are in the process of handing over the facility (to the state government),” said airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya.
The state government has set up 582 quarantine centres across Bengal. More than 18,000 people are now quarantined at these centres, health department officials said.
The quarantine facility at the airport will be run for two months and the period could be extended if necessary, a state government official said.
Several international flights are set to land in Calcutta in the next phase of the project to bring back Indians stuck abroad because of the lockdown forced by the novel coronavirus.
On Wednesday, a flight carrying more than 100 passengers is scheduled to arrive in Calcutta under the Vande Bharat mission.
One flight each from Yangon and Colombo are also scheduled to arrive, along with one from Dhaka, later.
All international passengers arriving in India need to undergo mandatory institutional quarantine for 14 days, according to a guideline issued by the ministry of health and family welfare.
The international passengers can stay in a paid quarantine facility for seven days at their cost and the next seven days in home quarantine.
“However, there could be people like workers coming from other countries who might not be able to afford paid quarantine. So, we are setting up this facility where those who don’t want to pay can stay,” said a state health department official.
The airport’s domestic flight services will resume on Thursday with 10 flights arriving and a similar number departing.
But those arriving on domestic flights need not be quarantined.
The state health department’s guidelines say those with mild symptoms can either go to a medical centre or stay in home quarantine under medical supervision. They have to undergo swab tests for Covid-19. Those with moderate and severe symptoms will be taken to a designated Covid hospital.
The old terminal building will demolished as part of an expansion plan of the airport.
In the first phase of the expansion, a building with 7,000sq m space will come up on the plot where the old domestic terminal stands.
The hand-over of the quarantine facility to the state government was delayed because of Cyclone Amphan, an airport official said.
The heavy rain and storm led to water leakage from the roof. The water had to be drained out and the floor cleaned before the beds could be set up.