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Air India pilots union seeks temporary suspension of breath analyzer test amid coronavirus surge
In the same period, an additional 879 people succumbed to the disease
In the wake of rising coronavirus cases, the Air India pilots union, Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), has requested aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to temporarily suspend the breath analyzer (BA) test before and after a flight as it can lead to spread of infection. The BA test involves blowing into a machine to check alcohol content. All flight crew are subjected to mandatory BA tests prior to operating a flight as well as post the flight in case pre-flight test is not possible, according to the rules.
Last year as well, a grouping of Air India pilots had urged DGCA to temporarily suspend mandatory breath analyser tests. “It is in light of this epidemic, and the ease with which the disease gets transmitted, that we seek temporary suspension of the mandatory requirement for such pre-flight and post-flight tests. Blowing into the apparatus for the purpose of the test inside small testing chambers leaves scope for contagion to spread. Multiple personnel also require queuing up, and complete sterilisation of such equipment used for the test is also not being done,” the letter read.
India has reported 1,61,736 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, setting another grim one-day record, taking the overall tally to 1,36,89,453 on Tuesday. With this, India has once again taken its spot as the second-worst hit nation in terms of infections after the US.
In the same period, an additional 879 people succumbed to the disease, which increased the total death toll to 1,71,058. India is now the fourth-worst Covid affected country worldwide after the number of active cases rose to 12,64,698.
A total of 97,168 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the number of recoveries to 1,22,53,697 with a recovery rate of 89.51 per cent. The Health Ministry said that a total of 14,00,122 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.