CEB and PAL assure flying public re coronavirus

FIRST of all, thank you to the Yamagata Green, Inc.for donating 720 pieces of masks to the Manila City Hall Reporters’ Association (MACHRA).  Special thanks to its chief executive officer  Eizo Yamagata,  sales manager Mon Cuario and consultant Ken Koizumi for their kindness.

They expressed concern for the safety and health of MACHRA members, knowing that they cover beats and are thus exposed to the dangers of illnesses that lurk out there. Again, in behalf of MACHRA members, our profound thanks…

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The country’s two leading airline companies — flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and budget carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB)— have both assured the flying public that  they have put preventive measures in place amidst concerns on Coronavirus which has adversely affected at least 104 countries lately.

CEB spokesperson Ma. Rosario Lagamon said their airline is strictly screening passengers on international flights to detect those with previous travel to high-risk areas upon check-in, and disallow travel, based on existing government guidelines.

Aircraft disinfection measures being conducted are as follows:  Use the HEPA filter for air filtration, which is capable of filtering virus clusters, including coronavirus, with 99.99% efficiency; intensified disinfection of all aircraft on a regular basis, using a Bureau of Quarantine procedure recognized by the World Health Organization; cleaning of aircraft interiors with a special focus on passenger seats, seat arm rest, tray tables, seatbelt, galley and lavatories and deployment only of Bureau of Quarantine-trained and qualified disinfection providers when cleaning aircraft with a confirmed NCov case.

Lagamon said inflight precautionary measures consist of the following: Directing cabin crew to wear face masks and gloves on all flights, regardless of destination; restriction on transfer of seats on all flights and monitoring for passengers exhibiting related.

Inflight catering sanitation measures meanwhile include producing meals based on global HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) safety standards; requiring all suppliers to submit their action plans on the precaution and prevention of the NCov virus  and ensuring that only Bureau of Quarantine-certified personnel can handle and transport the food.

With regard its employees, Lagamon said CEB updates employees regularly about disease symptoms and prevention; equips them with masks and other personal protective equipment and a Sanitation Team had been formed to oversee commonly used contact surfaces for employees.

Medical support as well as flexibility in work arrangements are also given, as needed.

PAL spokesperson Ma. Cielo Villaluna, on the other hand, said that all the preventive measures they have in place, before and after a flight are expected to mitigate the risks.

She said high-potent disinfectants are sprayed in their aircrafts’ cabin and lavatories;  in the  cargo hold and even passengers’ baggage areas, spraying is done before luggage are loaded off the aircraft;   headphones are cleaned with alcohol and inflight blankets are washed for 45 minutes at 100 degrees celsius and cooled for 15 minutes.

At the airport, Villaluna said they work closely with the Bureau of Quarantine to ensure that their passengers get screened via thermal imagery scanning and that they continue to cooperate with health authorities in providing essential information in the name of public health and the national interest.

For departing passengers, PAL has taken measures to get their temperature readings. At the check-in counters, sanitizers are in place, even as airport authorities have also positioned sanitizers in key locations at the airport on orders of Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Ed Monreal.

PAL said its cabins are subjected to disinfection using high-grade industrial disinfectants. The interior of the cabin -- seats, windows, galley, lavatories, etc. -- go through this intensive process; cargo hold is disinfected as well as  passenger luggage before these are loaded off the aircraft; cabin crew wear face masks in all phases of the flight and gloves at specific phases of the flight and most of all, ‘our planes have hepa filters which purify the air inside the cabin.’

Upon arrival, disinfection of the aircraft is done along with temperature checks on passengers at points of departure, on top of the thermal scanning done by the BOQ upon flight arrival. Distribution by PAL of forms to passengers is also done to indicate travel history.

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