An airhostess, wearing a mask, serves a meal on an almost empty flight from Hong Kong to Beijing. AFP
Gulf Today Report
The coronavirus has not just upturned many heads, it has even rejigged air travel rules worldwide. And that includes China. Answering the call of nature may be a very natural act for many, but Chinese aviation officials are not taking chances with this basic act.
Cabin crew in China are being advised to wear disposable adult nappies on charter flights to high-risk destinations and avoid using the toilet to reduce the chance of catching COVID-19.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) makes the recommendation for crew flying to destinations where the rate of infection is higher than 500 people per million.
In its recently released updated list of guidelines, the CAAC says: “It’s recommended that cabin crew wear disposable diapers and avoid using the lavatory unless in special circumstances to reduce the risk of infection," according to a report.
Other PPE recommendations include wearing medical protective masks, a double-layer of disposable medical rubber gloves, goggles, disposable caps, disposable protective clothing and disposable shoe covers.
The CAAC also advises dividing the aircraft cabin into four distinct areas: a clean area, buffer zone, passenger area and quarantine area, with each separated by disposable curtains.
The three rows at the back of the plane should be used as an emergency quarantine area, according to the guidance.
Crew’s mental health should also be taken into consideration, according to CAAC recommendations.
“Efforts shall be made to have an understanding of the mental health conditions of front-line crew members,” reads the advice.
“Duty scheduling for international flights shall be made after giving full consideration to crew members’ psychological conditions, personality, current family life pressures, social support system and other circumstances.”
Clearly the Chinese do not want to take any more risks and add to the ill repute the pandemic has brought to their country, what with US President Donald Trump trumpeting the 'China virus' in his speeches.
Despite the virus originating in China, the country managed to reduce infection rates far quicker than much of Europe and the US.
Although its aviation industry was severely impacted in the early days of the pandemic, China’s domestic market for flights has recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
Travel from the UK to China is largely off-limits at present. On 4 November, the Chinese Embassy announced the temporary suspension of entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in the UK holding Chinese visas or residence permits.
British nationals can still apply for a visa in an emergency, but must receive a Health Declaration Form from the Chinese Embassy by providing evidence of negative nucleic acid and IgM antibody tests for Covid-19 taken no more than 48 hours before travel.
All overseas passenger arrivals are subject to health checks on arrival and must quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
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