NATIONAL Airports Corporation Limited (NACL) has directed all airlines flying into Zambia to declare the status of their passengers in the event that there is a suspected case of Ebola virus.
The corporation has also established a 24-hour health check desk manned by Ministry of Health staff at all the four international airports to screen passengers arriving into Zambia for Ebola.
NACL communications and brand manager Sally Namutowe said the corporation has invoked the airport emergency plan code 11 on medical emergency, which contains procedures and guidelines in handling passengers and containing medical emergency on communicable diseases.
She said the Ministry of Health staff are screening all passengers for Ebola upon arrival and passengers are also required to fill in health check forms.
“All airlines flying to Zambia have been directed in accordance with Annex Two and Nine of International Civil Aviation Organisation to declare the status of their passengers in the event that there is a suspected case of Ebola virus through a notification to all airmen.
Air traffic control has also been directed to park any aircraft with a suspected Ebola passenger at a designated remote or isolated parking bay at all airports,” she said.
Ms Namutowe said NACL has had several meetings with airlines since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. All airport staff involved in aircraft and passenger handling have been directed to wear full personal protective clothing.
“All airports have clinics fully manned by Ministry of Health staff with full complements of facilities and equipment. The ministry has brought in auxiliary staff to help manage the situation in the event that we have a suspected case,” she said.
She said the airports also have examination rooms near the arrivals’ hall where suspected cases will be examined and tested.
“Should there be a confirmed case, the patient will be transported by a stand-by ambulance to the quarantine centre,” she said.
Ms Namutowe said Government has engaged NACL and other stakeholders in ensuring that stringent measures are put in place to prevent Ebola from seeping through the borders and how to manage it in the event that a case is recorded.
“We also want to take this opportunity to thank Government for procuring thermal scanners for Kenneth Kaunda and Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe international airports, which will significantly increase efficiency and effectiveness of the screening process,” she said.
NACL has also suspended school tours and facilitation activities in all restricted areas until further notice.
Ebola has killed more than 1,000 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, forcing some airlines to suspend flights to the West African countries.
South Africa has banned non-citizens arriving from the Ebola-affected countries, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports.
All non-essential outgoing travel to the affected countries has also been banned.
Senegal also suspended flights with Ebola-affected countries and closed the border with Guinea.
Cameroon and the Ivory Coast earlier imposed travel bans despite World Health Organisation warnings not to.
Zambia Daily Mail