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China-return Air India Pilots' Covid Tests 'false-positives'; All 5 Now Test Negative

All five Air India pilots, who had tested positive for novel Coronavirus earlier, have now been found negative in the retest, officials said on Monday.

Air India

All five Air India pilots who had allegedly tested positive for COVID-19 just days earlier have now been found Covid-negative in the retest, officials said on Monday. All the five pilots reportedly had operated cargo flights between Guangzhou and Delhi in April. The flight was Boeing 787 Dreamliner which went to China for medical supplies. 

'...could be a case of faulty testing kit as well.'

The swab test samples of the pilots were collected at the Air India Medicon Bhawan near the old international airport in Mumbai. The samples were sent to a BMC authorised centre. 

On Saturday the five pilots had allegedly tested positive for Coronavirus. "Five Air India pilots have tested positive for coronavirus. These pilots were tested one after one. We suspect it could be a case of faulty testing kit as well," sources had said.

The national carrier, which is operating flights to evacuate Indians stranded in foreign countries, has asked its pilots to undertake coronavirus test before they operate such flights. The pre-flight COVID-19 test is carried out 72 hours before the pilots are rostered for flight duties.

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As many as 288 people stranded in the USA and UAE arrived at the international airport on board two Air India flights in Hyderabad on Monday as part of the off-shore evacuation drive of Indian Citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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While 118 people returned from San Francisco in the US, the other 170 came from Abu Dhabi, PTI's sources at the GMR-led Rajiv Gandhi International Airport said. Air India flight AI 1617 from San Francisco via Mumbai landed in the morning while the AI 1920 at 8.50 pm, they said.

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The total number of positive Coronavirus cases across the country is at 67,152, including 44,029 active cases. So far, 20,916 patients have either been cured or discharged while 2,206 deaths have been reported in the country, as per data provided by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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