The five Air India pilots tested false positive after 77 pilots of the state-run airline were tested for the virus on Saturday before they could operate any repatriation flights
New Delhi, May 12:
All five Air India pilots who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday have had false positive results. Re-tests conducted on a priority basis indicate they are clear of the coronavirus. Separately, a technician and a driver have also tested positive. It is unclear at the moment whether the two will be re-tested. Both remain in quarantine.
The five pilots tested false positive after 77 pilots of the state-run airline were tested for the virus on Saturday before they could operate any repatriation flights. None of the five pilots have any symptoms and were advised home quarantine. All of them live in Mumbai and are Boeing 787 Dreamliner pilots.
The last time any of them operated a flight was on April 20.
NDTV has learned that these five pilots stood together in queue for their RT-PCR test. It is believed that the batch of RT-PCR kits they were tested with may have been problematic. None of the pilots had any symptoms of COVID-19 at all, sources said.
The swab test samples of the pilots were collected at the Air India Medicon Bhawan near the old international airport in Mumbai. The samples were sent to a BMC authorised centre.
Maharashtra already has more than 20,000 cases of coronavirus, which is one-third of the total cases in the country. Of these, over 12,000 are from Mumbai.
Billed as India’s largest peacetime repatriation exercise, Air India is carrying out “Operation Vande Bharat”, the first phase (May 7 and May 15) will see around 15,000 people brought back on 64 flights.