New Delhi: Hours after 22 officials involved in rescue operations in last Friday’s Air India Express flight crash in Kozhikode tested positive for coronavirus, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office on Friday announced that he would go into self-quarantine and not hoist the national flag at Saturday’s Independence Day ceremony. Also Read - Kozhikode Plane Crash: 22 Officers Involved in Rescue Ops Test Positive For COVID-19

In a statement today, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said, “Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and others who visited Kozhikode plane crash site are going into self-quarantine. Co-operation and Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran will hoist national flag at Independence Day function to be held in Thiruvananthapuram tomorrow”. Also Read - Air India Express Crash: 600 People Involved in Rescue Operations go Under Quarantine

Notably, the Chief Minister, along with Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, and a host of other officials, had visited the crash site last Saturday, a day after the tragedy took place. A total of 18 people-both pilots and 16 passengers-were killed as the flight, which had taken off from Dubai for Kozhikode, skidded off the destination airport’s tabletop runway and fell into a gorge, after failing to land twice amid heavy rains.

Meanwhile, the 22 officials who have tested positive for coronavirus include Malappuram District Collector K Gopalakrishnan, his deputy and 20 staff members. On Monday, a total of 600 people involved in rescue operations, including the DC, were sent into quarantine.

Earlier, 50 Central Industrial Security (CISF) personnel were quarantined after after at least two passengers tested positive for the virus.