A flight from Italy to India was found to have over 125 passengers test positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, Jan. 5, prompting accusations from the passengers and their relatives of the state fabricating the positive cases.

The flight came from Italy to India through the Portuguese company EuroAtlantic Airways, landing in the city of Amritsar in the early afternoon. All of the adult passengers were tested for the virus, because of Italy’s designation as an “at-risk” country by the local health ministry, according to the Times of India.

When the 160 passengers got tested, over 125 of them returned with positive cases. The situation afterward became tense as accusations flew around of the airport authority and the government of fabricating positive results, though it is not clear how the government would benefit from this, the New York Daily News reported.

“We were negative for COVID when we boarded the flight. How could we have turned positive during the eight-hour-long flight? It was mandatory to procure COVID negative reports not older than 72 hours before boarding the flight in Italy,” Gurinder Kaur, a wife of a passenger on the flight, said.

Some of the passengers who have tested positive have been taken to the hospital, while many are being isolated until conditions worsen, The Indian Express reported.

“We have taken all the 13 passengers to the hospital. There have been instructions from the government to not allow home isolation for international passengers who test positive. They will be observed and treated at the hospital,” Amritsar Chief Medical Officer Charanjit Singh said.

He has denied the allegations of fabrication, saying “We tested all the passengers and there were many who tested negative. There is no conspiracy.”

A recent report from the Indian government has shown that over 90,928 COVID cases were reported on Thursday, with a cumulative death count of over 480,000 people dying of the disease, largely blamed on the new Omnicron variant, according to NDTV.

A chartered flight from Italy to India with over 160 adult passengers was found to have 125 positive COVID-19 cases, prompting calls of anger and conspiracy from the passengers and their relatives. This is a representational image. Phil Mosley/Unsplash.

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