Masks will no longer be needed for air travel: MoCA

The MoCA announced on Wednesday, November 16 that mask use is no longer required for air travel and that there will be no penalties for it.

It is still recommended that passengers wear masks and facial coverings. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare was consulted during a review of the regulation requiring the use of masks or face covers during air travel.

MoCA rules air travel mask policy
On November 16, the MoCA declared that wearing a mask when flying is no longer necessary

Until recently, wearing a mask or facial cover while flying was required. The ministry stated in a statement to the scheduled airlines that the most recent decision was made in accordance with the government’s policy of a phased approach to COVID-19 management response.

The decision to not make masking mandatory was taken “in line with the government of India’s policy of graded approach of Covid-19 management”

“In-flight announcements henceforth may only mention that in view of the threat posed by Covid-19, all passengers should preferably use mask/face covers. Any specific reference to fine/penal action need not be announced as part of the inflight announcements.”

–An Office Memorandum issued by the Ministry following a review of the Covid guidelines it had issued in May 2022.

A senior ministry official said the decision is applicable to all airlines. According to a representative of the airline industry, the ministry’s decision is effective immediately, and carriers will inform the crew of this.

Many state governments had made masking optional over six months prior as a result of a decline in Covid cases. Early in June, the state of Maharashtra modified its Covid regulations to make masks optional.

However, the DGCA had emphasised that masks were required and had urged airports and airlines to strictly enforce compliance. Additionally, according to the DGCA letter, passengers who refuse to put on their masks should get off the plane before takeoff, and anyone still on board who disobeys would be classified as an “unruly passenger.”

With the declining rate of Covid-19 cases, the civil aviation ministry has removed mask requirements for airlines as the COVID-19 situation in Delhi, Mumbai, and other Indian cities improve. Passengers do not need any face masks for air travel now.

According to experts, the virus has become endemic, which means it is here to stay. The number of infections in India, however, has decreased as a result of hybrid immunity. Despite the positive trend in case numbers, the virus will persist.

Consequently, as a precaution, passengers are advised to cover their faces. Long Covid is a problem that affects many people, and experts stress that it would be a mistake to forgo prudence.

As a precaution, passengers are still advised to wear their masks and face covers

Also read: Delhi HC asks DGCA to review mask norms in flights

According to the most recently available official data, the number of COVID-19 cases that were still actively being treated in the nation made up just 0.02% of all infections, and the recovery rate rose to 98.79%. 4,41,28,580 persons have recovered from the illness, and the case fatality rate has been noted at 1.19%.

On November 15, Delhi reported 14 additional cases. Kolkata recorded only nine new cases whereas Mumbai reported 27 on the same day.