The Quarantine Ordeal | Guwahati Plus

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

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The Quarantine Ordeal

Swapnil Bharali | May 24, 2020 14:50 hrs


With airlines resuming operations and airports reopening across the country, it is expected that the LGBI airport of Guwahati will also be operational sooner than later. It is obvious that the stranded incoming passengers would be the first to get precedence and any business or leisure travel currently does not look likely at all.


The major confusion that has cropped up is from the conflicting statements by the union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri and the Assam state government’s stance. Puri tweeted that it would not be practical to provide institutional quarantine for every passenger on a flight after they land at their respective destinations. Perhaps he based this opinion of his after being convinced that asymptomatic passengers would be given a thoroughly medically safe and fully sanitized passage – airport to airport;  so such passengers can be deemed to be “safe” from getting the infection. However, this does not discount the fact that the passenger could have reached his departure airport by any means of transport and could be a carrier and yet remain asymptomatic enough to board his flight. Thereafter, he could pass the contamination to others inside the aircraft.


The state government is firm in its resolve to quarantine every entrant to the state – be it by air, road or rail. 14 days of mandatory quarantine is the order of the day for such entrants. The state government has augmented its quarantine facilities by adding hotels – big and small, expensive and inexpensive - to its list and none can hope to be spared from this. The consolation of course is that after having chosen a comfortable quarantine at a hotel, one can go for home quarantine after a week should doctors find such a traveller fit for the same. This would be against a written voucher that the person will not step out of home quarantine for the defined period.


But it is those travellers from Guwahati who have been stuck abroad that face the toughest quarantine ordeal. As things stand now, international flights are not landing in Guwahati because of insufficient travellers. And so, the first entry point into India could be any of its other international airports at the metros. This would necessitate 14 days’ quarantine at the metro and thereafter a flight or train to Guwahati for a further 14 days’ quarantine here. 


Well, the big question is: To travel or not to travel?

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