After a SpiceJet pilot tested positive for COVID-19, the DGCA on Sunday issued an order waiving the mandatory breathalyser test for aviation personnel to ensure that the use of the testing device doesn’t cause the infection to spread.
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According to SpiceJet, a junior pilot went under self-quarantine after his last flight on March 21 from Chennai to Delhi and tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. The airline has now asked all staff who came in contact with the pilot to undertake self quarantine for 14 days. The airline also said the pilot did not operate any international flight in March.
Following the Spricejet announcement, a letter from the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) to the DGCA said “continuing BA Tests in these circumstances is extremely dangerous” as the machine for the test remains the same and droplets or aerosols of infected pilots may infect the healthy. Saturday’s letter is the second from the ICPA, which had made a simila request on March 20.
The DGCA in its order temporarily suspending the requirement of pilots, cabin crew, Air Traffic Controllers and other personnel from undergoing the test for alcohol consumption, said all such personnel will have to give an undertaking that they have not consumed alcohol in the 12 hours before duty time.
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While all commercial flights, domestic and international, are grounded until April 14 following a nationwide lockdown several flights ferrying evacuees from different parts of the world as well as medical supplies are in operation.
The Spicejet pilot who operated a Chennai-Delhi flight on March 21, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. The airline has asked all staff who were in direct contact with him to remain in self-quarantine for 14 days.
The airline said after the March 21 flight, the pilot has been in self-quarantine. Following the confirmation, he has been admitted to a hospital in New Delhi.
According to Spicejet, the pilot did not operate any international flight in March.
“All measures are being taken to provide appropriate medical care to him. As a precautionary measure, all crew and staff, who had been in direct contact with him, have been asked to self-quarantine by staying at home for the next 14 days,” the airline said in a statement.