By Gboyega Oni
With the new outbreak of Ebola virus in DR Congo, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned all airlines, especially those operating international and regional flights, to exercise a high level of vigilance to avoid the spread of the dreadful virus into the country.
This development was contained in a press statement made available to PortNews in Lagos by Mr. Sam Adurogboye, General Manager of Public Relations of NCAA.
Adurogboye said the warning was contained in a circular with ref no. NCAA/DG/AMS/Vol.1/196, dated 11th May, 2018, dispatched to all operating airlines.
He noted that in the circular, all airlines were informed of the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo on 8th May, 2018.
To prevent the spread, Adurogboye said ‘Notwithstanding, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Ministry of Health and all other relevant agencies have been taken concerted steps to ensure the virus does not creep into Nigeria.
‘Therefore to forestall the EVD infiltration, the Regulatory Authority has therefore directed all airlines to carry out these measures in the interim.
‘Pilots-in-Command of an aircraft are to report to Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected case of communicable disease onboard their flight in line with Nig.CARs 188.8.131.52.
‘In case of any suspected case of communicable disease on board an aircraft, aircrew are to fill the General Declaration (Gen Dec) and Public Health Passenger Locator forms in line with Nig.CARs 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 respectively.
‘Completed General Declaration and Public Health Passenger Locator forms are to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) of the destination Aerodrome.
‘Airlines are to ensure they have onboard valid and appropriate number of First aid kits, Universal Precaution kits and Emergency Medical kits in line with Nig. CARs 18.104.22.168.
‘Airlines are to refresh the knowledge of their crew members in the handling and communicating with ATC of any suspected case of communicable disease on board.
‘Airlines are to contact Port Health Services for clearance before importing human remains into the country.
‘Airlines are to report to the Authority in writing of any suspected case of communicable disease in flight.
‘The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will continue to collaborate with all relevant agencies to ensure that the Public Health Emergency Contingency Plan (PHECP) developed for the guidance of aviation stakeholders are adhered to. This will prevent the importation of any communicable disease into the country through our air borders (Airports).’
However, the outbreak of EVD in DRC is yet to be declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Public Health Event of International Concern (PHEIC).