New Delhi: The five Air India pilots, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier on Sunday (May 10), have now been found to be negative after they were re-tested for the novel coronavirus.
The five had worked for payload/cargo flights between Guangzhou in China and Delhi, conveying clinical supplies and equipment in April. Four of them had been rostered together, two pilots for every part to China. Five of them fly the Boeing 787 planes.
On Sunday, all five Mumbai-based pilots had tested positive for COVID-19. Authorities named this as an instance of bogus positive given that the whole kit had given the positive sign to everybody tried. The retests were then done by a private diagnostic laboratory. The re-test results of a technician and an engineer are awaited. These two had also tested positive for COVID-19.
This test comes in the time when India is starting its large scale evacuation of its citizens stranded outside India. Under Vande Bharat Mission, Air India and Air India Express are bringing back more than 15,000 Indian national who are stranded out of their home country due to the world-wide lockdown and international travel bans.
They would now be able to be rostered for repatriation flights. Under the government standards for repatriation flights, just those who test negative for COVID-19 with test samples allowed within five days of the date of departure can be rostered for Vande Bharat Mission flights. The said pilots who were asymptomatic were approached to test so as to be rostered for the repatriation flights.
Air India has not released any comment as of now.