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Airline denies rumours of SARS-afflicted crew

posted on 14/04/2003: 1721 views


Emirates airline denied rumours that an employee had the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) yesterday. Last week, rumour had it that an Emirates cabin crew member had contracted SARS, and was admitted to Welcare Hospital. Speaking to Gulf News, Mike Simon, Director Corporate Communication at Emirates, stated that this was simply a rumour. Dr Alasdair Beatton, Emirates' Head of Medical Services, confirmed yesterday that no passenger on an Emirates flight and no member of the Emirates crew had been confirmed as having SARS. He added that the health authorities had also confirmed that there were no SARS cases.



Emirates' Medical Services is monitoring developments while coordinating with the medical departments of other airlines and with local health authorities. Any recommendation released to airlines by the World Health Organisation on SARS or any other matter relating to passenger health and safety is implemented. All aircraft have been equipped with extra facemasks, disposable gloves and biohazard plastic bags. Ground staff as well as flight and cabin crew have been briefed on procedures if a passenger is unwell and SARS is suspected.



Any instructions put out by local health authorities at Emirates' destinations regarding incoming passengers to their airports are fully complied with. Passengers arriving in Dubai on flights from Hong Kong and Singapore are asked to complete an immigration card. An announcement to this effect will be made on incoming aircraft from Singapore and Hong Kong. He added that Emirates subscribes to MedLink, a Phoenix, USA-based service which provides cabin crew on aircraft in flight anywhere in the world instant, round-the-clock telephone access to advice from a panel of doctors.



Speaking to Gulf News, an official from Welcare Hospital in Dubai said: "We did not have any case of SARS in our hospital. Furthermore, officials from the Ministry of Health has also confirmed that the UAE is free of SARS. All what I hear is rumour, and not true." Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific has informed that all flights from and to Dubai will continue as usual. (The Gulf News)

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