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Emirates takes precautions to tackle killer pneumonia

posted on 05/04/2003: 1576 views

All aircraft of Emirates have been equipped with extra face masks, disposable gloves and biohazard plastic bags as part of the precautionary measures against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Dubai-based Gulf News quoted from airline officials yesterday. Speaking to Gulf News, Mike Simon, Director of Corporate Communication at Emirates, said that the airline is closely following the situation on SARS, an atypical pneumonia, in accordance with WHO guidelines. He said that Emirates has subscribed to MedLink, a U.S-based service providing instant, round-the-clock telephone access to advice from a panel of doctors to cabin crew on aircraft anywhere in the world.

"We are following the recommendations of WHO, and are also very conscious about it. On board all Emirates aircraft we have MedLink, a radio link with an organisation in Phoenix, U.S., which has a team of doctors. If we have anyone sick on board Emirates, we can immediately get in touch with MedLink and describe the symptoms to them, and they can tell us whether it is serious or not," explained Simon, adding that Emirates is taking SARS very seriously. "We have face masks not only for the crew, but also any passenger who is concerned about SARS. At the moment we are very fortunate that we do not have any case of SARS on our planes," he said. Simon added that Emirates does not fly to China yet. However, it flies to Hong Kong and Singapore. "We maintain our flights as usual, but we are more careful.

The world is worried now a little bit, and people are not travelling much by plane not only because of SARS but also the conflict in Iraq," said Simon. He added that Emirates' Medical Services has two doctors to monitor developments on a full-time basis, co-ordinate with the medical departments of other airlines and with local health authorities. "Any recommendations released to airlines by the WHO on SARS or any other matter relating to passenger health and safety are implemented promptly," he said. Simon added: "All aircraft have been equipped with extra face masks, disposable gloves and biohazard plastic bags. Cabin crew have been briefed on procedures to follow if a passenger is unwell and SARS is suspected. Ground staff at Dubai and the outstations have been briefed on procedures to follow in such a case. Any instructions put out by health authorities at Emirates' destinations regarding incoming passengers to their airports will be complied with." (The Gulf News)


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