Hyderabad: In the last 48 hours ending May 7 (10 PM), close to 63 domestic flights scheduled to arrive and depart from Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport have been cancelled.
Surge in new Covid cases, uncertainty in the state, possibility of a lockdown and new restrictions imposed by different states are said to be some of the primary reasons. On a daily average close to 350 domestic flights operate in and out of Hyderabad airport. However, ever since the number of infections have touched new peaks in Telangana, the number of flight cancellations have increased. This has severely impacted the aviation sector.
An officer working at the GMR airport told NewsMeter, " Majority of the domestic flights cancelled were scheduled to fly to Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Goa. Around 33 were cancelled on May 6 and 30 on May 7th, amounting to 10 percent of the total domestic operations. Flyers are afraid of infection since the virus is airborne. With regard to International flights, the United Kingdom has banned arrivals from India and the United States has imposed certain restrictions on Indian flights. Unlike other metro cities, Hyderabad's International travel does not see much traffic. Meanwhile, the GMR group run International airport have been authorised by the Telangana police to impose a fine of Rs 1000 for no mask and violation of covid norms.
It is pertinent to note that Delhi government has made two-week quarantine mandatory for people coming from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after a new variant of COVID virus was detected in the two states.However, those fully vaccinated or with negative RTPCR shall have to go for 7-day home quarantine. The reason for this new order is said to be a new variant found in Andhra Pradesh.
But, the Andhra Pradesh government has clarified that there is no data to suggest that N440K is a variant of interest and is very virulent. On 6 May, the government issued a clarification stating that N440K strain of coronavirus (B.1.36) was detected in June-July last year from samples collected from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana.
"This strain was prevalent in December 2020 and January and February 2021 and dropped down drastically in March and now the share of N440K among the positives is very minimal," it added. Two major strains of the virus - B.1.617 and B.1 - were identified from the samples taken from the three states, according to April data. They are highly infectious and are also spreading among the younger age groups, the notice stated.