Hyderabad: Across Indian airports, 15,24,266 international passengers were screened for COVID symptoms between January 15 to March 23rd, 2020, informed the Directorate General of Health Services, government of India.
The information was revealed to well-known RTI activist Mr Saket Gokhale, who sought information on the screening for novel Coronavirus on passengers.
The government in an RTI response said, " In total 15,24,266 passengers were screened at all Indian airports between January 15th to March 23th, the day the lockdown was declared across India. Self-declaration forms were collected from all the passengers'.
The government also informed that, no screening for COVID symptoms was conducted on outbound or departing international passengers during the same time. It goes on to say that, those who traveled to other International destinations with India as its origin, were not screened at the airports. Also the directorate of general health services, does not have the count for domestic passengers screened, it said.
In contrary of the RTI response, many travelers who returned to India during the same time ( i.e January to March 2020) claimed that there were not screened for COVID at the airports. This includes a correspondent of NewsMeter. " My origin of travel was Tampa airport in Florida, USA, while the next connecting flight was from London to Hyderabad. On arrival, that is on March 8th, I was not screened but given a self declaration form at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad. Four days later the Telangana health department officials contacted me to know of my well-being, however I was not screened, said the correspondent who requested for anonymity.
It should be noted that, the screening of passengers for COVID at the Hyderabad International airport was only for those returning from China, Hong kong and Italy. Despite the fact that other countries like UAE , USA, UK had by then reported the outbreak of Coronavirus. The job to screen passengers lies on the state health department, while the airport authorities provides the logistics.