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New Delhi, March 22, 2020
Hours after the Delhi Government said that all domestic and international flights arriving in Delhi shall be suspended as part of a lockdown in the national capital from tomorrow morning until March 31, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) made it clear that the airport would remain functional.
"Domestic flights to and from IGIA Delhi shall continue to operate and the Airport shall remain functional," the DGCA said on micro-blogging site Twitter late tonight.
Earlier in the evening, Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that there would be a complete lockdown in Delhi from 6 am tomorrow until midnight on March 31 as part of the measures being taken across the country to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
"All domestic and international flights arriving in Delhi during this period shall be suspended," an order issued by the Government of Delhi said.
However, though the DGCA has made it clear that the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) would continue to function during this period and that domestic flights would operate, there was still some confusion about how people would reach the airport or travel from the airport to their destination in the city or in nearby areas.
This was because the Delhi Government has also said in its order that no public transport services, including operation of private buses, taxis, autorickshaws would be allowed during the lockdown. Metro rail services have also been cancelled till the end of March.
While there is no ban on the use of private vehicles, this may not be an option for many, especially people from outside the city.
Further, the order also said that the motorable and unmotorable borders of the National Capital Territory of Delhi with the neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh shall be sealed.
"Movement of inter-state buses/trains/metro services shall be suspended," it said.
This could pose some difficulties for people travelling to the airport from places like Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad (in Uttar Pradesh) and Gurgaon and Faridabad (in Haryana), among other places.
Many people took to Twitter to voice their concerns about such issues and hoped the Government would sort them out quickly. Others felt that, like trains and bus services, flights should also be banned for some time to break the transmission chain of the virus
The Union Government has already banned all incoming international flights into India.