Wearing masks made mandatory for air passengers – Pakistan

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RAWALPINDI: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has made wearing surgical masks for passengers and crew mandatory. Moreover, personal protection equipment (PPE) will be required to be worn by the crew to minimise the risk of Covid-19.

“All cockpit and cabin crew will wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) dress and surgical masks throughout the duration of flight without compromising on safety,” said a spokesperson for the Aviation Division

He said the government had approved operational SOPs for passengers and chartered international flights to Pakistan which covered effective steps required to control the spread of coronavirus disease.

All passengers are required to wear surgical masks throughout the duration of flight and the masks shall be provided by the airline at check-in counters of the airport if the passengers did not have their own.

In addition, passengers will occupy only the seats allocated to them and not change the seats in any case. They are also not allowed to congregate in the aircraft during travel.

Most importantly, body temperature of each passenger shall be checked after an interval of 90 minutes during in flight with a calibrated non-contact thermal device.

Any passenger having symptoms or feelings of Covid-19, including but not limited to shortness of breath, coughing, high fever and sore throat, must immediately inform the cabin crew.

The cabin crew will provide hand sanitisers every hour during the flight to each passenger except during the food/beverage service. Food and beverage is strongly discouraged for flights of duration less than 150 minutes.

Three Aft rows shall be kept vacant for the passengers and crew displaying symptoms of illness. The passengers and crew members displaying symptoms of illness will be isolated towards aft of the aircraft and kept their till the termination of flight. Such persons will remain at this seat in the aircraft till such time the health crew is called in by the cabin crew for medical evacuation.

After completion of boarding, the senior purser/lead cabin crew will take a picture of each aircraft zone displaying passengers seated while wearing masks. The photograph of passenger seating will be submitted to the concerned health staff at the airport of disembarkation. The airline will maintain copies of these images in its record.

Before landing, the captain of the aircraft will confirm to the concerned air traffic controller that international passenger health declaration form had been filled by all otherwise no one shall be allowed to disembark from the aircraft.

The CAA said the cabin crew shall use alcohol-based disinfection wipes to clean and disinfect their hands. After touching or disposing wastes, hands should be cleaned with hand sanitiser or soap. The cabin crew will spray disinfectant in the lavatory after every 60 minutes of flight.

Under the guidelines, upon contacting ill passengers (having symptoms of Covid-19), cabin attendants must ensure use of N-95 masks, gloves and protective goggles in addition to the PPE suits.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2020

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