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India couple under investigation for midair wedding that skirted COVID-19 rules

India couple under investigation for midair wedding that skirted COVID-19 rules
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A couple in India is being investigated by authorities for holding a wedding ceremony in midair in front of dozens of guests in an attempt to avoid COVID-19 restrictions, as the country struggles with a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections.

The New York Times reports that the unnamed couple had originally intended to get married in front of a hotel in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, but that the number of guests they were permitted to have was limited to 50. In Indian culture, it is common for weddings to take place over multiple days with hundreds of guests.

To circumvent this restriction, the couple reportedly chartered a plane operated by the Indian carrier SpiceJet, boarding it with around 160 guests. The plane flew from Madurai in Tamil Nadu to Bangalore in the neighboring state of Karnataka. The flight took approximately one hour.

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A spokesperson for SpiceJet told the Times, “The agent and the guest passengers were briefed in detail, both in writing as well as verbally, on social distancing and safety norms to be followed as per Covid guidelines both at the airport and onboard the aircraft throughout the journey.”

According to Indian news outlet NDTV, the SpiceJet crew who flew the flight were also de-rostered following news of the wedding.

The Straits Times reports that India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation has instructed SpiceJet to take action against the wedding party, potentially banning all attendees from passenger flights.

India's COVID-19 death toll surpassed 300,000 this week, becoming the third country to pass this grim milestone. Hospitals across the country are struggling with available beds and oxygen supplies. Health experts have stated that the number of cases and deaths are likely being undercounted.