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    Centre talks more unlocking while states reimpose curbs

    Synopsis

    Even as states and cities are resorting to short lockdowns, a larger discussion is on in the central government on how to ‘Unlock’ further after July 31.

    Govt plans to resume international flights, allowing passengers with a negative test report to board flights and take on-arrival testing at the airport and opening up of cinema halls, but with age limit while keeping senior citizens and younger children out.
    New Delhi: Even as states and cities are resorting to short lockdowns, a larger discussion is on in the central government on how to ‘Unlock’ further after July 31. It is weighing easing of curbs on international flight movement, cinema halls and gyms, all closed since March.

    On the table are plans to resume international flights, allowing passengers with a negative test report to board flights and take on-arrival testing at the airport and opening up of cinema halls, but with age limit while keeping senior citizens and younger children out.

    Discussion are said to be underway among the empowered groups on how to resume international flights. While the original plan was to do so by July 15, the government has now decided to collect more data and firm up a protocol for a post-July 31 scenario.

    ET gathers that it is being proposed that only those with negative test report not older than 48-72 hours be allowed to fly. Even those with symptoms will also not be allowed on the flight.

    On arrival, everyone will have to undergo testing at their own cost, it is proposed. The rapid antigen testing — which takes 30-45 minutes and costs about Rs 500 — will be made available at the airport. The entire process is likely to add an hour or two for passenger clearance at airports.

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    In the event of any passenger testing positive on arrival, he will have to undergo quarantine at their own expense.

    There is no plan so far for home quarantine for all on arrival.

    “The whole idea is to unlock and get the economy back on track. Putting hundreds of passengers in preventive quarantine even after repeat negative test will work against that idea. We are looking at unlocking with all due precautions and it does have some risks but we do have to ultimately unlock and when we do so, we do not want to create unnecessary roadblocks,” a senior official involved in the deliberations told ET.

    The other key ‘unlocking’ is expected at cinema halls which have been shuttered for near-four months now.

    The possibility of opening up halls for those in the age group 15-50 years is being considered.

    The seating plan may have to be reworked for group, family and individual bookings, keeping in mind the social distancing norms.

    The Centre is also looking at opening gymnasiums and fitness centers provided due precautions are undertaken by these establishments.

    “We will keep the onus for safety on both the establishment and the citizen , ” the official added.

    One of the trickiest areas emerging is re-opening of schools and colleges. High-level discussions are underway to consider various models, from alternate day schooling to staggered timing, but there is still no clarity on the timing of opening up educational institutes.

    The Centre is also in the process of developing various standard operating procedures (SOPs) for unlocking while leaving the states to decide on the day-to-day applications of the same depending on local factors.
    (Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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    18 Comments on this Story

    Riyadh27 days ago
    We need to take test at our own cost ?. Why we have to travel then. Better to remain at home and let the airlines make losses.
    Sachin Dubey27 days ago
    what about the local and metro trains. the entire economy of cities like mumbai and delhi depends on them, a large number of people depend on these trains to go to their work places. the livelihood of all these people are severely affected. not eveybody can work from home. its hightime we start discussing running the local and metro trains as well.
    true Indian27 days ago
    why not allow rapid test to all citizens?
    The Economic Times