Aircrew Risk Update: Coronavirus
If the travels of your crew or passengers have taken them through China—and specifically the Wuhan City area of China—within the past 14 days, be aware that they could have been exposed to Coronavirus 2019-nCoV without showing any immediate symptoms of exposure. According to the latest interim guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, observed symptoms are those of a lower respiratory illness: cough, difficulty breathing, and sometimes a fever (source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/clinical-criteria.html).
The latest information suggests transmission of 2019-nCoV can be via person-to-person. The CDC lists exposure conditions as being within 6 feet of the individual within a room or other closed space for prolonged periods. Another form of exposure is coming into direct contact with infectious secretions without wearing protective equipment.
Currently, there is no cure for this strain. Locations of known outbreaks include China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and the United States of America. The CDC raised the travel awareness level to the Wuhan, China area to Level 3 (Avoid Unnecessary Travel) and Level 1 for the rest of China (Practice Usual Precautions). U.S. airports receiving direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China that are under entry screening procedures include Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles, (LAX) New York city (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO).
Planehook offers the following for consideration:
1. Pilots-in-command can ask if crew members and passengers have been in the Wuhan City, China area within the past 2 weeks.
2. Cabin crews and airports can make available disposable nose and mouth shields (such as surgical masks) for those who have travelled to the Wuhan area AND exhibit suspicious symptoms.
3. Airports can make available separate waiting areas for passengers and crewmembers exhibiting suspicious symptoms.
4. When a crewmember identifies suspicious symptoms in-flight, they should advise the pilot-in-command. The pilot-in-command can inform company and airport personnel of the possibility of arriving with a person that may have the Coronavirus.
5. Airports receiving word of the potential for an arriving flights exposure to Coronavirus can advise ground personnel to don personal protective equipment prior to entering or servicing the aircraft.
For the latest information and guidance go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html