Coronavirus — India Takes to the Skies, Shoots Up the Global Cases Ladder

  • As the fourth round of lockdowns in India draws to a close, the number of coronavirus-positive patients in the country is growing at a record rate.
  • The total number of victims in India today is more than 139,000, placing them tenth in the world in number of cases.
  • India has launched air service from Monday, allowing one-third of flights to be operated on a limited scale.

The total number of coronavirus-positive patients identified in India now stands at nearly 145,000— and India now ranks highest in Asia, surpassing Iran. About 7,000 new patients have been identified in India in the last 24 hours, a new record. However, domestic flights have resumed in the country from today.

The first case of the COVID-19 pandemic in India was reported on 30 January 2020, originating from China. As of 25 May 2020, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have confirmed a total of 138,845 cases, 57,721 recoveries (including 1 migration) and 4,021 deaths in the country.

As the fourth round of lockdowns in India draws to a close, the number of coronavirus-positive patients in the country is growing at a record rate. In fact, over the last four days, the number of patients identified in India has exceeded 6,000 a day, breaking the previous day’s record almost daily. In the last twenty-four hours it has reached 7,000.

As a result, the total number of victims in India today is more than 139,000, placing them tenth in the world in number of cases. The other nine are the United States, Brazil, Russia, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and Turkey. Experts also say that the coronavirus epidemic started a little later and slower than in India, but now it seems that India is losing that early advantage.

It is rapidly rising in the list of the most endangered countries. This is a very embarrassing thing for the government to do, as the country has been locked down four times in a row for the last sixty-two days and the restrictions on lockdowns have been gradually relaxed.

Now the question is, why did India decide to launch air services in such a situation? The simple answer is that the government has been forced to make this decision in a desperate attempt to save the economy. India’s aviation sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, but after more than two months in the sky, India’s private airlines are in dire financial straits.

Hardeep Singh Puri is an Indian politician, former diplomat who is the current Civil Aviation Minister of India and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in India. He is a 1974 batch Indian Foreign Service officer who served as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013.

It is feared that some of them may declare themselves bankrupt despite the lockdown. To curb that possibility, India has launched the service from Monday, allowing one-third of flights to be operated on a limited scale, roughly any other time, in a lockdown. Even Transport Minister Hardeep Puri has said that it will not be possible to leave the middle seat empty on the condition of social distance. Otherwise, ticket prices will go up manifold.

Passengers Suffered on the First Day

The problem is, after two months, the experience of pressing the passengers on planes was not smooth at all. The main reason is that even though the central government decided to run the flight, many state governments could not agree with that decision.

States like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, which have the highest number of coronavirus cases, have made it clear that they are not willing to allow flights to or from Mumbai or Chennai airports right now. The West Bengal government has also asked for an additional three to four days to reopen the cyclone-hit Kolkata airport.

As a result, 72 flights scheduled from Delhi alone had to be canceled today. Arriving at the Delhi airport with great difficulty, many passengers have come to know that their flight will not fly on this day. Similar images have been seen at Mumbai or Bangalore airports.

Passengers on canceled flights are sitting outside terminal buildings in frustration. Many are also frustrated with the mandatory web check-in, so trying to start flying has stumbled on the first day.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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