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New Delhi: With Delhi and Noida border sealed, the Gautam Budh Nagar district authorities have decided to extend the same restrictions to those Air India crew members who are involved in the Vande Bharat Mission and are residents of Gautam Buddh Nagar. They can return home from Delhi only after their COVID-19 test results are found negative, officials said on Saturday. Also Read - Nearly 8,000 COVID-19 Cases in Last 24 Hours Take India's Tally Past 1.70 Lakh; Death Toll Nears 5,000 | Key Points

The crew would be examined for COVID-19 through the real-time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or the RT-PCR test, considered a gold standard but costly and time-consuming process as against the rapid anti-body tests, and put on duty again if found fit, the officials said. Also Read - Leicester City Manager Brendan Rodgers Tests Positive For Coronavirus

The Gautam Buddh Nagar police had requested the management of the national carrier to accommodate its crew members that reside in Noida and Greater Noida in Delhi for the duration of the Centre’s Vande Bharat Mission. Also Read - Sealed Haryana-Delhi Border Day 2: Massive Jam Reported, Cops Checking Passes, IDs of Commuters

The request was made because Gautam Buddh Nagar in western Uttar Pradesh falls in the Red Zone’ and the to and fro movement of the flight crew could increase the risk of COVID-19 infection, the officials said.

“A letter from Air India CMD dated May 8 says that Air India is fully implementing health protocols of crew members. The RT-PCR test will be done and they will be staying in a hotel in Delhi till the test results are received. The crew members with negative test results will be allowed to go to their residence in Gautam Buddh Nagar,” Gautam Buddh Nagar Additional Commissioner of Police Sriparna Ganguly said.

“The letter further says that the RT-PCR test of crew members will be done on the fifth day and members with no symptoms and negative test results will be sent on the next duty,” the officer added.

Air India is operating 64 repatriation flights for a week from May 7 as India rolled out a massive evacuation plan earlier this week to bring back thousands of nationals stranded abroad due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.