Urgent – Regarding screening of travelers at the airports for Coronavirus
3rd March 2020
Dr. Harsh Vardhan
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare
Government of India
Hon’ble Minister Sir,
Sub: Urgent – Regarding screening of travelers at the airports for Coronavirus
The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is the National Apex Body of Tour Operators with membership of over 1600 across the country. Our membership consists of the nation’s inbound tour operators, travel agents, hotel chains, airlines, state government tourism departments/development corporations, press and media and other stake holders in the tourism & hospitality industry. The Membership of IATO controls over 90% of all inbound tourism into India from all over the world.
First of all on behalf of the tourism industry, I would like to complement our Government for taking swift action at a very initial stage to protect the citizens of India by cancelling E-Visa/Normal Visa for nationals of China. for other nationals who are residing in China and subsequently cancelling flights between India and China and lately between India and Iran.
However, recently a few more cases of Coronavirus in Delhi, Noida, Jaipur and Telangana have been reported. Reports which we have received from our arriving travelers and our members is that there is weak or no screening being done at Indian airports upon arrival at the International Airports other than the nationals from affected countries.
At some of the international airports in other countries, thermal screening is being done and everyone in the flight starting from cockpit crew, cabin crew and all the passengers. This is being done inside the aircraft before passenger de-board from the aircraft.
Keeping in view the sensitivity of the matter, may I take this liberty to suggest that all travelers including aircraft crew members should be screened upon arrival from all the countries in similar way to avoid outbreak/spreading of coronavirus in our country. We as responsible tour operators and safety of our citizens of India is priority for us and hence request you to ensure 100 % screening is done of all travelers at all the International Airports for the safety of our country and No flight must be excluded as we get airlines flying in from hubs that have passengers from all over the world.
Thanking you and with best regards,
Ms. Preeti Sudan
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Government of India