Precautions taken on flights

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Precautions taken on flights Empty Precautions taken on flights

Post by swatika on Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:37 pm


The biggest fear for many, when travelling in these pandemic times, is to be cooped up in the close confines of an airplane cabin. Malaysia Airlines (MAS) director of Operations Datuk Tajuden Abu Bakar gives the assurance that Malaysia Airlines is taking all the necessary steps to ensure passengers’ safety.
“The health and well-being of passengers and employees is our top priority,” he says, stressing that MAS is abiding by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) advisory on the Influenza A (H1N1) following its declaration of the Level Six alert on Thursday.
MAS CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala reiterated the importance of staying calm amid the pandemic warning of the A (H1N1) virus.

Tajuden: ‘The health and well-being of passengers and employees is our top priority’
“There are no travel bans; it is important to understand the level of severity attached to the rating by WHO and put it into perspective,” he told a media conference on Friday.
Providing details on passenger treatment in the case of an infection, Tajuden says: “If a passenger falls sick during the flight, he will be isolated. He will be taken to the rear of the aircraft and distanced from the nearest passenger by at least two metres. The sick passenger will be asked to wear a mask, and we will provide him with tissues and a waste bag. As an extra precaution, a toilet will be designated especially for the use of the passenger; no other passenger will be allowed to use that toilet.”
If the flight is full, he adds, travellers surrounding the sick passenger (two rows in front and at the back, two rows at the left and right) will be provided with masks.
Upon arrival at KL International Airport, they will be received by health authorities who will put the sick passenger under quarantine while the whole aircraft will be disinfected.
Tajuden stresses the strict cleaning procedures for cabin that MAS undertakes.
“As advised by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, we keep surfaces clean and wipe them down with a disinfectant to prevent the spread of influenza virus.
“Anyway, Malaysian Airlines has always adopted the best hygiene and cleaning practices for our cabin and we will continue to do so,” he adds.
Consultant Infectious disease physician and member of the Global Hygiene Council Dr Christopher Lee cautions that there could be some risk of catching the infection on a flight due the relative close proximity among passengers and the confined space.
“The risk is highest for those who are seated within three rows of the infected patient,” he says.
He adds that the risk of acquiring the disease is higher for those travelling to a country where there is high local transmission (or widespread community spread).
“The best protection is to heed the advice of the Health Ministry and defer travel to those countries for the moment unless it is completely essential,” he says.
The Foreign Ministry has said that although Malaysians are not banned from travelling abroad, those intending to go to countries affected by the virus should take extra precautionary measures.
The ministry has also advised travellers to practise high personal hygiene standards, including avoiding contact with affected persons, using masks and washing their hands regularly.
Students in affected countries who plan to return home have also been advised to postpone their trips if they have any symptoms of the flu.
The Health Ministry, meanwhile, has pledged to adopt more stringent measures to contain the outbreak, including the screening of passengers at all entry and exit points of the country.
However, feedback from visitors raises worry about the effectiveness of the measures in place.
A passenger who only wants to be known as Naila Sidhu says she was surprised by the lax medical control at the airport.
“The air stewardess handed me the declaration of health form (from the Health Ministry) before we landed at KLIA.
“The information the form required was if I had come into contact with anyone with H1N1, if I was from a country on the watch list, and if I had any fever, sore throat or headaches. They did not take my temperature or do any other health screens at the airport,” she relates.
Robert Verkaik, who flew in from Heathrow airport in London, England, on Monday, feels that too much responsibility is put on the passenger to “do the right thing”.
“I didn’t think I had swine flu, but the form made me think I did. But then, I thought that might be how one would feel after a long trip. If I ticked all the boxes, that would mean I would have to subject myself to quarantine. It’s like volunteering for prison,” says the journalist from The Independent who is here on an assignment.
Health Ministry Disease Control Division director Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman, however, assures that the measures taken by the ministry are adequate.
“We really hope passengers who travel will provide all the necessary information in the health form as it is only for their own safety.
“There should be no reason for them to lie because if they do contract H1N1 flu, they would want to get it treated early. And if a passenger contracts the virus, the declaration form will allow us to trace the others on the plane for quarantine or treatment. “
Dr Hasan adds that the ministry will be meeting on Wednesday to fortify border measures, including strengthening enforcement and screening equipment.


Last edited by swatika on Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Precautions taken on flights Empty Re: Precautions taken on flights

Post by Guest on Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:54 pm

where was thus article taken from? pls place link.

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