Quarantine is out–aircrew to wear PPE, say new protocols

Airlines have mandated staff to wear full-body protective suits in hopes of resuming flights

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has released new COVID-19 public-health protocol that will require air crew operating international flights to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

Until this new update, crews operating international flights were quarantined for 14 days upon return to Nigeria.

Daily Trust reports that this has been the practice since the COVID-19 crisis started when crews of Nigerian carriers operating chartered humanitarian flights were subjected to mandatory 14-day quarantine.

However, the new protocol has scrapped the practice but the crews would be made to undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19 every 14 days at the cost to the Air Operator upon return to Nigeria.

The Director General of the NCAA, Musa Nuhu has written to operators, airports and other service providers on the protocol, insisting crews operating regional and international flights must ensure among others, orientation and sensitization of crew on infection-prevention-and-control measures.

Others measures as contained in the letter include that operators must ensure they have adequate stock of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), minimum 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizers and universal precaution kits (UPK) on board aircraft before the flight and that flight crew must wear PPE.

The airline is also required to carry “augmented crew” to ensure the immediate turnaround of the flight with no crew member disembarking from the aircraft, except the pilot that will conduct the mandatory walk around in which case the pilot is required to wear a non-medical facemask and gloves.

Onboard, the flight crew must also ensure passengers wash their hands after using the lavatory, apply disinfectant spray in lavatory every 60 minutes during the flight and to maintain a safe distance between passengers and themselves; avoid direct physical contact and serve only pre-packed meals to passengers.

For the Captain and his Assistants (First officers), they can remove their face mask when the cockpit door is closed for safety reasons.

Cabin crew must also “ensure safe removal of gloves after performing specific tasks, avoid touching their face and eyes with unclean hands, ensure that all passengers wear a non-medical face mask for the duration of the flight except when eating or using emergency oxygen, flight crew are to ensure that passengers rub their hands with alcohol-based sanitizer as they embark the aircraft.”

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