Coronavirus: EU issues safety guidance on air travels but no flight bans
Share article:
Share article:

Coronavirus: EU issues safety guidance on air travels but no flight bans

On Monday the death toll of the Coronavirus exceeded 1,000 and the number of infections climbed to 43,000 in China. In comparison, the SARS epidemy in 2002-2003 killed 774 persons worldwide.

While the European Commission tackles the Coronavirus outbreak in different ways, it does not coordinate flight bans or other travel restrictions to China and other countries affected by the virus, according to the Commission.

“As the Coronavirus outbreak affects more and more countries, coordination and cooperation need to be our main focus,” said Janez Lenarcic, Commissioner for Crisis Management, speaking from EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre in Brussels (10 January).

Related News

EU is co-financing, via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the transports costs of repatriating EU citizens from Wuhan, the city and region where the virus originated, and which is subject to a travel lockdown by the Chinese authorities. In three flights organised by France, Germany and the United Kingdom, 542 EU citizens have been flown home.

The Coordination Centre is also liaising with all EU member states to facilitate the delivery of needed personal and protective equipment to China. In an immediate response, 12 tonnes have already been mobilised. The EU is also providing €10 million from its research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, to support research into the new Coronavirus disease.

A national competency

As regards travel guidance on flying to China and other countries affected by the Coronavirus, a European Commission spokesperson told The Brussels Times that it is a national competency.

“The Commission is not issuing any travel recommendations. We are aware that a huge number of airline companies have suspended their flights to China. This is a decision to be taken by private economic operators or member states. We do not have a comprehensive list of their decisions.”

That said, the situation is closely monitored by two EU bodies, the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell (EACCC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). A spokesperson of EASA confirmed that it does not track the actions of others on travel bans. The action the agency has taken in the context of the Coronavirus is to issue a Safety Information Bulletin to airliners.

The bulletin, which was updated on 10 February, advises cabin crews and airport operators on actions they may take to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus and detect whether passengers may be suffering from the virus. The agency has also created a poster with this information to be displayed on cabin crew noticeboards and similar locations.

Aircraft operators performing passenger flights to or from the affected countries should be equipped with one or more Universal Precaution Kits (UPKs) to protect crew members.

Crew members are encouraged to identify passengers meeting the following criteria: having signs and symptoms indicative of acute respiratory infections and having been in China or in contact with people infected with the virus or with people arriving from China within 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms.

If a passenger displaying the symptoms has been identified, the crew should be encouraged to register health information, provide a medical face mask for the passenger and try to minimize the contact between the suspected passenger and cabin crew members and other passengers. Alternatively, the sick person can be asked to cover the mouth and nose with tissues when coughing or sneezing.

Airlines and operators should also ensure that:

• A sufficient quantity of potable water is available in the water tank of aircraft prior to departure
• A sufficient number of gloves are available onboard
• A disinfectant gel is available for the crew
• While on the ground with passengers onboard, the maximum time without air conditioning/ventilation should be less than 30 minutes

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Mayor wants to close two Brussels bars where alleged sexual assaults took place
Ixelles' Mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said that he’d like to close the two bars that employed a man accused of raping multiple patrons, ...
‘Untenable’: Mayor says situation at Brussels North station is out of control
The situation at Brussels North Station is no longer tenable, Schaerbeek's mayor Cécile Jodogne (Défi) says. Drug dealing, homelessness, ...
Suicide second-leading cause of death among European youth
Suicide is the number two killer among young people living in Europe, a recent Unicef report on the state of their mental health found. The ...
‘Too little, too late’: Brussels mayors criticise CST implementation
After a two week delay, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will become mandatory in several situations in Brussels from today (Friday). Some mayors blame a ...
Sciensano expert warns of rising Covid-19 cases this winter
The return of colder weather and the relaxing of health measures are giving rise to new Covid-19 contaminations and hospitalisations around Belgium, ...
Hospital food is making you sick, Belgian study shows
Eating hospital meals results in a measurable decline in health, according to a report from the Flemish television network VTM, which paints a ...
Belgium in Brief: Supply Issues
There are few things more jarring than walking into a store and finding that the shelves are empty, be that partially or otherwise. One thing ...
Stolen Magritte painting on display for first time in ten years
Surrealist painter René Magritte's work "Olympia", which made headlines across the world when it was stolen from a museum in Belgium in 2009, will be ...
Brussels airport pilots ’15 minute’ PCR test
Brussels Airport has announced that it will soon begin a trial of an ultra-fast PCR test able to detect Covid-19 in 15 minutes, a far faster ...
Over 1,000 demonstrators march in Brussels following sexual assault allegations
Around 1,300 people gathered in Ixelles on Thursday night to march against sexual violence, according to reporting from Bruzz. The march was ...
Covid Safe Ticket mandatory in Brussels, but no fines yet
The Brussels-Capital Region will expand the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) from today (Friday), but it will take a few days before rule-breakers ...
Belgium hosts ‘farewell party’ for Merkel today
Angela Merkel will be in Belgium on Friday for an official visit as a symbolic "farewell" before leaving her position as German Chancellor after 16 ...