By Yunus Yusuf
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has put all airline operators, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) and Aerodrome Operators on alert over the outbreak of Coronavirus.
The General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr Sam Adurogboye made this known in a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday.
Adurogboye said the alert was contained in a letter by the Acting Director General, NCAA, Capt. Sidi Abdullahi.
The NCAA official said it had called for a high level of vigilance by airlines, especially those operating international and regional flights, all designated point of entries (POEs) and travelling public.
Adurogboye said in the letter sent to the airlines, all operators were therefore required to carry out the following:
“Pilots in Command (PIC) of aircraft are to report to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected cases of communicable disease on board an aircraft in line with Nig. CARs 22.214.171.124.
“In case of a suspected case of communicable disease on board an aircraft, the aircrew are to fill the aircraft General Declaration (Gen Dec) in line with Nig. CARs 126.96.36.199 and Annex 8 of International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).
“Completed aircraft General Declaration are to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) on arrival at the designated point of entry.
“Sick passengers on board an aircraft are to be required by the crew to fill a Passenger Locator form in line with Nig.CARs 188.8.131.52.
“The completed Passenger Locator Forms are to be submitted to Port Health Services (PHS) on arrival at the designated point of entry,” he said.
Adurogboye explained that airlines must have onboard the appropriate number of First Aid Kits, Universal Precaution kits and Emergency Medical kits according to the provisions of Nig.CARs 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11.
He said airlines must update the knowledge of their crew members in the handling of communicable disease on board an aircraft.
Adurogboye said cabin crew should follow the operational procedures recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and their airlines’ Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in handling possible cases of communicable diseases on board an aircraft.
“They are to ensure that passengers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection exercises cough etiquette maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues and wash hands thoroughly.
“Passengers should be encouraged by the crew to self-report if they feel ill while airlines are to contact Port Health Services for clearance before importing human remains into the country.
“Designated points of entries are to ensure stakeholders collaboration in the handling of a suspected case of communicable disease in line with their respective Public Health Emergency Contigency Plans (PHECPs).
“Routine measures, train staff, provide appropriate space, stockpiling of adequate equipment including Personal Protective Equipment should be in place at POE.
“The equipment will be used in assessing and managing ill travellers detected before travel on board aircraft and on arrival,” he said.
Adurogboye said the procedures were in place for communicating information on ill travellers between aircraft and POE and between POEs and National Health Authorities.
He said safe transportation of symptomatic passengers to hospitals or designated facilities for clinical assessment and treatment was organised.
The NCAA official said airlines and POEs were to report to it in writing any suspected case of communicable disease observed in flight or at any Point of Entry (POE) – International Airport.
He said the authority therefore expected strict compliance to the Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) as enumerated above.
Adurogboye, however, warned that failure to adhere to these guidelines would be viewed seriously by the authority.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) broke out in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in China recently.
The clinical signs and symptoms of the virus are mainly fever and difficulty in breathing (Coughing, sneezing etc.).
Presently the virus has spread to other countries including Thailand, Republic of Korea, United States of America and Japan .(NAN)