52 passengers on India flight test positive for Covid as illness ravages nation

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Dozens of passengers on a flight from India all tested positive for Covid when they arrived in Hong Kong.

At least 52 people on board the flight from Delhi recorded negative tests pre-flight, officials said.

Rashida Fathima, who was on board with her husband and two children, believes she was infected on the plane – despite wearing a face mask for the majority of the journey on April 3.

Speaking from her hospital bed, she told the Wall Street Journal how some passengers were coughing a lot during the six-hour trip, while others took off their masks to eat.

India has been gripped by soaring numbers of coronavirus patients with international aid being flown in for hospitals buckling under the pressure.

Covid patients have reportedly been dying on the pavements outside hospitals – with doctors fearing infections will soon hit 500,000 per day as they hit a record peak for a fifth day on Monday.

One person is dying every four minutes in the capital of New Delhi, which has been particularly badly hit, and some experts believe the number of cases could be up five times higher than the official cases show.

Passengers were only allowed to board the flight run by Indian airline Vistara if they presented a negative test before jetting off.

The positive results came to light during the mandatory three week quarantine measure enforced in Hong Kong.

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Authorities in Hong Kong have not revealed how many people were on the plane, but up to 188 passengers could have been on board, reports the Mail.

The director of Nanda Travel, based in Hong Kong, has said they are "shocked" by the situation.

Poonam Nanda added: "This one flight appears to be an astonishing outlier and we are all confounded by these numbers."

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Health experts say there could be many explanations for the arrivals testing positive in Hong Kong.

They could have infected in India after the pre-flight test, or the results may have simply been false-negatives as India continues to be overwhelmed by swelling numbers of cases.

It has also been suggested by scientists that those on board may have caught Covid at a quarantine hotel in Hong Kong, or a particularly infectious strain may have been spread during the flight.

It comes as hospital workers in India grapple with surging case numbers – with desperate Indians turning to Twitter to beg for oxygen as the supplies dwindle.

  • Coronavirus

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