While Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Sunday said it is "extremely ill-advised" to reopen airports in red zone amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials at Mumbai airport have said that they are fully equipped to start airline operations.
The minister's comments comes after Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri's announcement that all domestic flights are set to resume in India from May 25 as part of its gradual reboot of air travel services amid the pandemic.
"Its extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in red zone. Mere thermal scanning of passengers inadequate w/o swabs. Impossible to have autos/cabs/buses ply in current circumstances. Adding positive passenger will add Covid stress to red zone," Deshmukh tweeted.
"Getting passengers to come from a green zone to a red one putting them to risk of exposure doesn't make sense. Keeping a busy airport up & running with all Covid-safety measures will need huge staff presence and compound risk in the red zone," he said in another tweet.
However, Mumbai airport officials say that they are fully equipped to start airline operations as they are already operating cargo and special flights. All standard operating procedures (SOPs) are in place.
Of the 47,190 cases in Maharashtra, 28,817 are from Mumbai. The financial capital also accounts for 949 deaths due to coronavirus.
The worst-hit Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which includes Mumbai and surrounding satellite towns, has reported 36,173 cases and 1,069 deaths.