VIJAYAWADA: As many as 34 people from Andhra Pradesh were flown back to the country from Chicago in an Air India flight on Sunday. After landing at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad, 31 of the 34 passengers were brought to Vijayawada in buses; while two were allowed to leave for Tirupati to attend the last rites of a family member, one passenger opted to stay in Hyderabad.
The flight, carrying 350-odd passengers from Chicago, first landed in New Delhi and reached Hyderabad airport around 5 am. The two buses arranged by the Andhra Pradesh government halted at Berm Park, where the district administration had arranged food for the returnees. The passengers were examined before boarding the flight and also in New Delhi and Hyderabad. “After they reached here (Vijayawada), we collected and sent their swab samples for testing through RTPCR method,” said Krishna joint collector Dr. K Madhavi Latha.
Rohini, one of the returnees, described her ordeal: “I registered only once and got response from the Embassy. It took a long time for my documents to be processed. Before boarding, each passenger was tested. Also, loading and unloading of luggage took a lot of time. But, we kept calm as we understood the need to follow the protocol.” The 25-year-old, who is studying in Texas, paid $1,362 (app `1,03,349) for her flight ticket, while the bus trip from Hyderabad to Vijayawada was provided for free.
All the returnees who were stranded in the US have chosen for paid quarantine. They were taken to Red Fox, one of the 13 hotels selected for the purpose. They will be charged `2,000 per day, which includes the cost of their stay, breakfast, lunch and dinner. “They have requested us to send them to their respective districts as soon as their test results come, instead of keeping them in Vijayawada for 14 days. Based on how many test negative, the district administration will take the consent of the state government before taking a call,” said Krishna collector A Md Imtiaz.