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Pathanamthitta group didn’t say they came from Italy: CIAL

Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) authorities have said that the three people, who arrived in Kochi on February 29 via Doha and proceeded to Pathanamithitta, did not reveal that they had arrived from Italy.

They “skipped the health counter” and directly proceeded to the immigration counter, said a communication from the CIAL authorities here on Wednesday. They also hid the fact that they had started their journey in Italy and got out of the airport. The facts had been verified in the wake of the allegations made by these travellers against those in the immigration counter, the press release said.

Meanwhile, the airport authorities had deployed a 60-member medical team and 10 ambulances as it fights to stave off the spread of the epidemic reaching Indian shores via international travel.

The airport authority was screening around 12,000 people daily taking the help of 30 medical doctors on duty, said a press release here. The airport authorities had also readied 10 sterilized ambulances to transport anyone suspected to be infected. The ambulances were on the ready on a 24-hour basis.

Universal screening of passengers had begun on March 3 on advise from the Union government. Prior to this, the screening included only those passengers from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea. It was also made mandatory that those arriving from Iran and Italy declared the origin of their journey. Since these countries did not have direct flight to India, travellers were asked to inform the authorities about their journey.

The airport authorities denied allegations that the needs of about 52 passengers who arrived from Italy early hours of Wednesday were not met. Those arriving from South Korea and Italy were expected to produce a certificate that they were not infected. This rule was effective from March 10 and it was on this ground that these passengers were shifted to the Aluva Taluk Hospital isolation ward, the authorities said.

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