Home » 5 AI pilots test negative for COVID-19 after re-tests; AI’s Delhi office sealed for 2 days after a staffer tests positive

5 AI pilots test negative for COVID-19 after re-tests; AI’s Delhi office sealed for 2 days after a staffer tests positive

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 2 minutes read

IT Correspondent
Mumbai/Delhi, May 12:

All the five Air India pilots who had tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, have now tested negative, after re-test the results of which came on Monday evening, brining in a sense of great relief for the pilots.

Then the new results were obtained after a re-test was conducted on the positive cases under Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the airline. The re-test results of an engineer and a technician, who too had tested positive were awaited and as such they continue to be  isolated, pending test results.

The pilots had tested positive during the pre-flight COVID-19 test which is carried out 72 hours before they are roistered for flight duties. However, the Air India management as well as pilots’ association was not convinced with the first test results and therefore, a second test was conducted. The association had also opined that the faulty test kit might have created this confusion.

“These five pilots had flown last on April 18 to China and hadn’t flown anywhere since then. Therefore, we had reasonable doubt over the first test results. Our questioning of these pilots further reaffirmed that the first positive test could be because of a faulty kit. Hence the second test was conducted,” an AI official said.

Air India, which is operating special flights under the “Vande Baharat Mission” to evacuate Indians stranded in foreign countries, have asked its pilots to undertake coronavirus test before they operate such flights. Touted to be the largest evacuation exercise in the world, national carrier Air India is in the process of flying back nearly 15,000 citizens aboard 64 flights from 12 nations.

In another development, AI’s office in Delhi has been closed for two days after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. As such everyone, including the Chairman and Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola, will work from home. Recently, the Aviation Ministry’s headquarter was also sealed after one of its employees who had attended office on April 15, tested positive for COVID-19.

On Monday, “Shram Shakti Bhawan” in Delhi, which houses- the Union Ministry of Power, was also sealed after an officer tested positive for Coronavirus on Sunday. On May 5, a floor of the “Shastri Bhawan”, a government building that houses several ministries, located in Delhi’s Rajpath area, was sealed after a senior law ministry official tested positive. Also the NITI Aayog building was sealed for two days after a director-level officer tested positive for COVID-19 late last month.

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