Five pilots, an engineer and a technician of Air India have tested positive for coronavirus, sources in the airline have told NDTV. The pilots were detected after 77 pilots of the airline were tested for the virus yesterday on priority basis. None of the infected pilots have any symptoms and they have been advised home quarantine, the sources said.
The five affected pilots have been operating Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The last time any of them operated a flight was on April 20.
The national carrier has been operating through the lockdown period, initially rescuing Indians stranded in COVID-19 nations, including Italy and Iran.
Currently they are engaged in ferrying back stranded Indians from various nations in what is possibly the biggest rescue operation since the Gulf war. The first such flight with 326 Indians took off from London and landed at Mumbai Airport on Sunday.
The phased rescue-op started from May 7 and the airline is expected to operate 64 flights in the first week to bring back around 15,000 Indians.
Pilots have been the latest section of frontline workers to be hit by the highly infectious disease.
Around 100 healthcare workers have already been affected by coronavirus, a chunk of them are from Delhi and Mumbai.
More than 500 security forces personnel have also been infected – around 250 of them in The Central Reserve Police Force. Around 200 personnel of the Border Security Force also tested positive. A majority of them have been linked to Delhi.
Two BSF jawans and a Delhi Police personnel who were infected died last week.