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Delhi airport records highest social media engagement globally in late March during lockdown




Evacuees airlifted from Rome, Italy on their arrival at IGI airport, before being sent to a quarantine facility in New Delhi on 22 March | Photo: PTI
Evacuees airlifted from Rome, Italy on their arrival at IGI airport, before being sent to a quarantine facility in New Delhi | Photo: PTI

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New Delhi: With most of the world in self-quarantine in light of the coronavirus pandemic, enquiries on the functioning of flight operations on social media have “sky-rocketed” for all airports globally. According to social media analytics tool Konnect Insights, in the second half of March, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport recorded the highest amount of online traffic among all global airports, with passengers reaching out to them for clarity on their queries.

It also saw the highest use of “proactive communication” on its social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

After PM Modi announced a 21-day countrywide lockdown to begin on 25 March, domestic and international flight operations were suspended, with air traffic witnessing a significant dip between 15 March to 31 March. During the time of the lockdown, passengers were only left to use social media as a reliable avenue for their queries.

During the period of 15 March to 31 March 2020, Delhi airport’s social media handles saw 99 posts in total, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram combined. This is the maximum number by any global airport.

Singapore’s Changi Airport was second in line to witness high levels of engagement after Delhi airport. Both these airports are managed by the GMR Group. Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport engaged in 80 proactive posts, while Los Angeles International Airport and London’s Heathrow Airport followed with 74 and 68 posts respectively.

Also read: Singapore to shut terminal 2 of Changi airport for 18 months

Most passengers relied on Delhi airport’s social media handle for checking flight status, availability of transport, status of lockdown, travel advisories issued by the government etc. Moreover, the airport also developed a dedicated landing page on its website. This website provided all the essential travel related information.

Delhi International Airport Limited’s CEO, Videh Kumar Jaipuriar said, “While the whole country was in a state of lockdown, our social media 24×7 command centre remained fully functional just like any other essential service at the airport. The cutting-edge cloud based technology deployed by us ensured that the team could operate remotely from their home and adhere to these 21 days lockdown. We still continue to respond almost real-time to the passengers’ queries and engage with them proactively through advisories and updates. It has also helped us in gathering insight of the situation on ground through online conversations. The team’s contribution is truly on the lines of #WorkFromHub culture promoted during the Covid-19 crisis.”

Also read: 13 flights landed across India’s 5 busiest airports hours after the flying ban


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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