NCAA rolls out measures to curb spread of Coronavirus into Nigeria

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has rolled out measures to curb spread of Coronavirus into Nigeria just as it has called for vigilance by airlines especially those operating international and regional flights, all designated point of entries (POEs) and travelling public.

The 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 (USA) and Japan.

In the letter to the airlines and all operators, NCAA charged aircraft pilots to report to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected cases of communicable disease on board their aircraft and fill the aircraft General Declaration (Gen Dec) in case of a suspected case of communicable disease on board.

According to NAMA, the completed aircraft General Declaration are to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) on arrival at the designated point of entry and sick passengers on board an aircraft are to be required by the crew to fill a passenger locator form which has to be submitted to Port Health Services (PHS) on arrival at the designated point of entry.

NAMA maintained that airlines are to have onboard the appropriate number of First Aid Kits, Universal Precaution kits and Emergency Medical kits and to update the knowledge of their crew members in the handling of communicable disease on board an aircraft.

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 and airlines are to contact Port Health Services for clearance before importing human remains into the country.

The aviation authority added that Designated Points of Entries are to ensure (i) stakeholders collaboration in the handling of a suspected case of communicable disease in line with their respective Public Health Emergency Contingency Plans (PHECPs), (ii) Routine measures, train staff, provide appropriate space, stockpiling of adequate equipment (including Personal Protective Equipment) should be in place at Points of Entries for assessing and managing ill travellers detected before travel, on board aircraft and on arrival,(iii) Procedures and means are in place for communicating information on ill travelers between aircraft and point of entries as well as between POEs and National Health Authorities (iv) Safe transportation of symptomatic passengers to hospitals or designated facilities for clinical assessment and treatment is organized.

NCAA vowed to sanction any operators who violated the guidelines.

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