Here’s what airline companies are doing to protect against coronavirus
The recent outbreak of the 2019 n-CoV (Novel Coronavirus) continues to spread around the world. Various carriers like American Airlines, United Airlines, and others are taking the necessary precautions to protect its crews and passengers. It is understood that airline practices are not similar and they differ based on the destination, region, and local guidance, however, there are common practices done like monitoring sick passengers, offering hand sanitizer to flight attendants, and also fully disinfecting planes in between flights. All of those are just some of the safety measures being observe to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Several airlines already canceled their flights to China which is known as the virus’ epicenter. The flight cancellations and even route suspensions affect the economics side. The demand for travel to China has dropped as companies postponed or cut back on their business trip due to the widespread virus. Even people with family members in the said country postpone their visits. The entire regions of China are quarantined.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a list of recommendations for airline companies although the actions given are not mandatory for every airline and don’t necessarily apply to each flight. Nevertheless, they suggest several useful practices when it comes to protecting its crew members and passengers, especially in the transportation sector.
The most important among the steps is reporting sick passengers to health officials. The Federal regulations instruct airlines to report ill passengers with certain symptoms. Those passengers who have been in China with a fever that lasted for more than 48 hours, experience difficulty in breathing, fever plus cough, or who appear to be not feeling well. Those are not just limited to flights coming from China. Upon landing, the CDC officials take the initiative to monitor the possible patient or quarantine if they’ve been exposed.
Other CDC’s recommendations include washing hands with soap and water or make use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, offering face mask to sick passengers, wearing gloves when dealing with any body fluids and lastly, disinfecting surfaces.
On top of what health officials had released, airlines are taking extra precautions to prevent the virus from hitching a ride. One example is the Cathay Pacific wherein they would no longer offer hot towels, blanket, pillows, reading materials, or even duty-free sales on its flights to mainland China. On the other hand, Thai Airways is outfitting its crew members with masks and gloves when traveling to high-risk areas. Indeed, the safety of the passengers and their employees is the utmost priority.