Kenya: Kenya Airways protects passengers, crew in Ebola-hit West Africa

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Kenya Airways said Friday flights to Ebola-hit areas in West African states, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, would continue under revised but more stringent health regulations to prevent possible risks to crew.

"Arising from the unfortunate Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa, we wish to confirm Kenya Airways is still flying to and from several destinations in that region," said Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer.

"Our crew members have also been supplied and trained on the use of Universal
Precaution Kits (UPKs) to ensure that they do not come into contact with body fluids
while carrying out their duties," Naikuni added.

Crews handling flights to West African destinations will continue to receive up to date briefs before departure and upon arrival back home.

"Withdrawing our flights to these key destinations given the safeguards already placed by the respective governments’ and global health authorities would amount to a corporate placement of unnecessary travel advisory," Naikuni said.

The airline said its Medical personnel will ensure the crew are clear on the procedures to follow to protect themselves and cross infection of passengers.

"For the Ground Staff in Monrovia, Free Town, Accra, Lagos and Abuja we are in constant contact and have provided them with protective materials and related support," Naikuni said.

Ground staff and crew are also on high alert to identify passengers who look unwell on check-in or on board and facilitate immediate medical review.

The airline said the continued operations in West Africa will be based on the information provided by local health and travel authorities.

Early Friday the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Ebola an international health emergency and asked affected states to take similar steps.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA)and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have offered continued close coordination with airlines flying to the affected areas.

The WHO says risk of a tourist or businessman/woman becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing disease after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas with Ebola cases.

Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animal, all unlikely exposures for the average traveller. 

Kenyan health authorities are carrying out strict surveillance at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi for all flights from West Africa.

"So far Ebola has not been declared an epidemic/pandemic. No travel bans or advisory have been given or recommended," Naikuni said.

-0- PANA AO/AR 8Aug2014

08 august 2014 17:29:14

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