The European Union Aviation Safety Agency issued a Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) giving recommendations to national aviation authorities, airlines and airports in response to the evolution of the Coronavirus ‘2019-nCoV’ outbreak in the City of Wuhan, China.
The SIB recommends that airlines provide information to crew members as to how to manage a case of acute respiratory infection on board an aircraft. It further recommends that airlines and airport operators encourage crew members and airport staff to identify any passengers showing signs of acute respiratory infections who were also recently in China or in contact with people coming from China.
Airlines performing passenger flights to/from affected countries should be equipped with Universal Protection Kits for crew members assisting with potentially infectious cases. Crews with a layover in China should also be informed and be provided with equipment as recommended by the Chinese authorities.
In addition, the SIB calls upon airlines and aerodrome operators to collaborate as much as possible with the public health authorities to provide support in tracing passengers in the event of flights where a Coronavirus ‘2019-nCoV’ infection has been confirmed.
Measures for cabin crews
In the event of such a symptomatic passenger being identified, the crew should be
1. Use the health part of the aircraft general declaration to register the health information on-board and submit it to the Point of Entry health authorities when required by a State’s
2. Ask the passengers to fill in the passenger locator card forms in order to collect information regarding the passengers’ position in the aircraft as well as other information regarding their immediate travel plans and contact details. The information is intended to be held by public health authorities in accordance with applicable law and is to be used only for authorized public health purposes. A passenger locator form can be downloaded here.
3. Recommend to the passengers to self-report if feeling ill, and if they meet the criteria mentioned above.
4. Follow the basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections as presented by WHO in their Travel Advice.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated for the repatriation of EU citizens an the EU will co-finance the transport costs of the aircraft. The first aircraft is scheduled to depart from France, while the second one will leave later in the week. EU citizens present in the region and who wish to be repatriated can still request it, no matter their nationality.
Initial numbers indicate that around 250 French citizens will be transported in the first aircraft and over 100 EU citizens from other countries will join the second aircraft. This is a first request for assistance and others may follow in the coming days.
At this stage, only healthy or asymptomatic citizens will be authorised to travel. The EU Emergency Response Centre is in constant contact with Member States’ governments in order to coordinate the arrivals and subsequent possible quarantine periods. The European Commission is in regular contact with Member States, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organisation on all aspects of the Coronavirus outbreak.