Disinfect aircraft coming from Japan, South Korea, Italy before starting boarding for next flight: DGCA

NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has made it mandatory for aircraft flying in from Italy, South Korea and Japan to India to be disinfected thoroughly. All incoming passengers on these flights to India will need to be screened and if any flyer shows symptoms of coronavirus, then the aircraft will have to undergo a more stringent disinfection process.

Boarding of passengers for the next flight supposed to be operated on these aircraft will begin only after the disinfcetion process has been carried out, says an order issued by DGCA on Tuesday evening.

“In case of disembarkation, passengers from Italy, Japan and South Korea or from a flight wherein a passenger has been identified as a suspect for COVID-19 at non aerobridge bay, and a vehicle has been utilised for transportation of passengers from bay to the terminal building, all such vehicles should also be subjected to (stringent) disinfection/ cleaning process. The similar process shall also be adopted in case of wheelchair used by a COVID-19 suspect passenger,” the order says.

The regulator has mandated providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for people working at airports and operating flights. “Crew members are constantly working in an environment which has potential for exposure to COVID-19. In order to prevent any form of infection to crew members, all (airlines) are advised to issue the following guidelines/instructions for the crew: practice personal hygiene and mandatory use of PPE on (some) sectors. It is advisable to maximum extent possible that PPE be used by crew on all flights. Infection control measures including traceability of crew should be well documented in the event of crew members being exposed to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case,” it says.

The regulator has directed that all staff at airport like immigration, health, security, check-in counter staff who are exposed to potential or possibly infected passengers or co-workers “should be mandatorily provided with PPE”.

It has also asked airport operators to have “adequate hand sanitising facilities at multiple locations including check-in counters, terminal exit areas, at thermal screening points for the use of staff and passengers. Operators to ensure that adequate PPE are available on board all the aircraft for distribution to passengers on need or request basis for international and domestic sectors both. The above is for strict compliance by all concerned,” it says.

All personnel involved in aircraft cleaning activity will have to provided with PPE such as surgical mask, gloves and disposable shoe covers. “All personnel should also be made aware of the correct usage and disposal of PPE as a potential biohazard. Preventive disinfection process of aircraft should be carried out by use of alcohol based agent as per the WHO guidelines,” the order adds.

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