We call on all governments and transport companies to implement all measures available to them to limit the risk of transmission of the deadly coronavirus to transport workers globally. This is particularly important for airline, border, cruise workers, seafarers and port workers who are in the frontline of the outbreak.
WHO has advised governments to prepare for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation, case management, contact tracing and prevention of the onward spread of infection.
Governments worldwide should immediately act and implement strict biosecurity protocols in airports and ports, including procedures to identify potentially infected passengers, crew and seafarers from areas of concern, to contain the outbreak and minimise any chance of exposure and safeguard workers from the deadly outbreak.
Airlines, airports, cruise line operators, shipping companies and port operators must provide workers with the latest information regarding the outbreak, follow best practice in regard to health and safety protocols and supply of personal protective equipment, put into effect procedures to identity symptomatic travellers, crew and/or workers, and set clear guidelines for workers managing suspected cases of infection.
Safe crewing and manning levels must be applied to ensure that crews have adequate rest in line with national legislation.
More detailed advice is provided below for aviation workers and airlines and for seafarers, dockers and the maritime industry. All of this advice is applicable to all workers and companies across all transport sectors.
Advice for airlines and aviation workers
Airlines should not restrict workers ability to protect themselves from exposure in any way, including:
Allowing airline crews and ground staff to wear protective equipment as desired – including rubber gloves and facemasks.
Allowing airline crews and ground staff time and adequate breaks to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves from exposure.
Should an aviation worker become infected, isolation at home should be prioritised, and the workers must continue to be paid appropriately.
Advice for crew members:
Encourage all onboard to practice hand and respiratory hygiene especially when coughing or sneezing.
Crew should use hand sanitiser/wash hands following contact with any passenger or other crew.
If on a layover in a country with a known coronavirus outbreak, crew are advised to remain in hotel accommodation as much as possible and practice hand and respiratory hygiene and safe food practices (see more below).