CHENNAI: Four days after domestic flights resumed, 18 passengers who landed in different TN airports on Wednesday have tested positive for Covid-19.
Ten passengers from Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore tested positive at the Coimbatore airport, five who flew from Chennai to Salem tested positive at the Salem airport and three who landed in Madurai from Bengaluru and Delhi were also infected. Health department staff at airports have been collecting nasal swab samples from all returnees when the 18 passengers were found to have been infected.
The state had expressed concern that many passengers would test positive when it tried to resist resumption of domestic flights.
Officials said those who tested positive include a 34-year-old woman who took off from Chennai. She is said to be asymptomatic like the 24-yearold man who tested positive on Monday. “Passengers from other districts were sent home by road on Wednesday,” a senior health department official said.
Seven patients, including ones in Trichy, Salem and Erode, had flown from Mumbai to Bangalore and then to Coimbatore, because there is no direct flight between Mumbai and Coimbatore.
The two Namakkal patients had flown from New Delhi to Coimbatore.
“We have cross-notified those district health department officials and informed them that they tested positive so officials can take it forward,” the official said.
Five people, who travelled from Chennai on the first flight to Salem with a total of 56 passengers, were admitted to a hospital after they tested positive while the others on the flight are in quarantine. The health department officials had sent some passengers to the quarantine ward in Salem government engineering college in Karuppur while a few are in a hotel.
Three passengers from Bangalore, Delhi and Haryana who landed at Madurai airport tested positive. A 63-year-old woman “asymptomatic passenger who travelled on IndiGo on 6E 7214 from Bangalore to Madurai on May 27, was discovered to be Covid-19 positive during the mandatory testing at the quarantine facility in Madurai on May 27,” the airline said in its statement.
The other two cases were of a 26-year-old man who had returned from Delhi and a 29-year-old man who had returned from Haryana. All three passengers did not have any symptoms or comorbid conditions, according to health officials.
The crew who operated these flights have been grounded for quarantine and steps have begun to check passengers who sat near the infected people. The health department is yet to test all passengers who arrived at Chennai airport though so many have tested positive at different airports in the state.