A total of 1,995 personnel of Air India have tested positive for coronavirus till February 1 and its 19 ground staff have "succumbed due to COVID-19 and other complications", said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday. "A total of 1995 personnel of Air India, including the crew deployed on Vande Bharat Mission tested positive for COVID-19 till February 2, 2021, out of which 583 personnel were hospitalised," Puri said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
"There have been no fatalities among the crew. However, 19 ground staff succumbed due to COVID -19 and other complications," he added. Air India has been operating special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission since May last year to help stranded people reach their destinations amid the coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
"The COVID-19 test for the crew is undertaken as per Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the medical department of Air India, which is based on the advisory/guidelines issued by the Government from time to time," Puri said. "Air India covers its crew for any medical emergencies (including COVID-19) on duty/layover," he added.
Scheduled international flights have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, special international flights have been operating since May under the Vande Bharat Mission and since July under air bubble arrangements formed with various countries.