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2019 Novel Coronavirus: Interim Health Guidance from CDC and FAA

Date: February 2, 2020

Note:  This information is changing rapidly.  Check this document and any updates that are posted here before each flight.  We strongly recommend that you return all calls from Crew Scheduling.  Personnel are making every effort to ensure crews are properly aligned with the current guidance.

The United States has confirmed cases of individuals who have a contagious, respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (“2019-nCoV”) first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.  This virus has rapidly spread across China and Chinese health officials have reported thousands of infections with 2019-nCoV in China, with evidence of the virus spreading from person-to-person in many parts of that country. 

The Director General of the World Health Organization has declared that the outbreak of 2019-nCoV constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared that 2019-nCoV constitutes a public health emergency. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is closely watching for spread in the United States and is actively monitoring hundreds of individuals with contacts related to Wuhan City.   The CDC and FAA are providing the following health guidance for: U.S.-based flight and cabin crewmembers while in China; U.S.- and third country-based flight and cabin crewmembers upon arriving to the United States within 14 days of travel to, from, or within China; China-based flight and cabin crewmembers while in the U.S.; U.S. air carriers housing flight and cabin crews while in China; and U.S. air carriers supervising self-monitoring of flight and cabin crews who have had layovers in China.

Guidance for U.S.-based flight and cabin crews while in China:

Travel as a group in private transport provided by the air carrier when traveling between the airport and hotel.  o Minimize contact with ground personnel and time in public areas while moving between the aircraft and the private transport.  o Do not use public transportation, including when traveling between the airport and hotel. 

Minimize going out into the general population, and use social distancing (maintain a distance of approximately 6 feet, if possible) whenever out in public. Avoid crowds, stores, sporting or mass entertainment events, and other situations likely to attract large numbers of people.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your face.

Self-monitor your health condition, following the guidance provided by your employer’s occupational health program. o Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day and watch for cough or difficulty breathing. Fever means feeling feverish or having a measured temperature of 100.4oF (38oC) or higher. o Immediately report any fever, cough, or difficulty breathing to your employer’s occupational health program. 

Seek occupational health clearance before working your next flight segment. o Your employer’s occupational health program also is recommended to check in with you periodically to make sure you are well. 

Your employer’s occupational health program may choose to exceed these recommendations based on their own policy.  Guidance for U.S. and Third Country-based flight and cabin crews upon arriving to the U.S. within 14 days of travel to, from, or within China:

U.S. crewmembers may commute to their residence after the flight segment.

Crewmembers may continue to work subsequent flight segments, as long as they remain asymptomatic.

For 14 days, self-monitor your health condition, following the guidance provided by your employer’s occupational health program.

o   Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day and watch for cough or difficulty breathing. Fever means feeling feverish or having a measured temperature of 100.4oF (38oC) or higher.

o   Immediately report a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing to your air carrier employer’s occupational health program. 

Seek occupational health clearance before working your next flight segment.

o   Your air carrier employer is recommended to notify the local health department and the CDC of the crewmember’s symptoms. 

o   Call ahead to the local health department or your doctor for medical advice before seeking care. 

Tell them your symptoms and that you were in China. 

Tell them you work for an airline. Avoid touching your face, wash your hands frequently, and use hand sanitizers.

Your employer’s occupational health program may choose to exceed these recommendations based on their own policy.

Guidance for China-based flight and cabin crews upon arriving to the U.S. within 14 days of travel to, from, or within China:

Travel as a group in private transport provided by the air carrier when traveling between the airport and hotel. 

o   Minimize contact with ground personnel and time in public areas while moving between the aircraft and the private transport. 

o   Do not use public transportation, including when traveling between the airport and hotel. 

Stay in your hotel to the maximum extent feasible.

Minimize going out into the general population and use social distancing (maintain a distance of approximately 6 feet, if possible) whenever out in public. Avoid crowds, stores, sporting or mass entertainment events, and other situations likely to attract large numbers of people.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your face.

Self-monitor your health condition, following the guidance provided by your employer’s occupational health program. o Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day and watch for cough or difficulty breathing. Fever means feeling feverish or having a measured temperature of 100.4oF (38oC) or higher. o Immediately report any fever, cough, or difficulty breathing to your employer’s occupational health program. 

Seek occupational health clearance before working your next flight segment. o Your employer’s occupational health program also is recommended to check in with you periodically to make sure you are well. 

Your employer’s occupational health program may choose to exceed these recommendations based on their own policy.

Guidance for U.S. air carriers housing flight and cabin crews while in China:

Arrange to move flight crews as a group between the airport and the hotel aboard private ground transport that has been sanitized in advance. Advise your crews to avoid public transport unless it is an emergency.

Arrange to house flight crews in hotels that are in close proximity to the airport. Ensure that the hotel rooms are sanitized in advance of the crews’ arrival.

Provide crew with at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Encourage crews to minimize going out into the general population, and to use social distancing (maintain a distance of approximately 6 feet, if possible) whenever out in public. Encourage crews to avoid crowds, stores, sporting or mass entertainment events, and other situations likely to attract large numbers of people.

The U.S. air carrier occupational health program may choose to exceed these recommendations based on their own policy.  Guidance for U.S. air carriers supervising self-monitoring of flight and cabin crews who have had layovers in China:

Crewmembers may commute to their residence.

Crewmembers may continue to work subsequent flight segments, as long as they remain asymptomatic.

Supervise crew self-monitoring of their health condition through the carrier’s occupational health program.

Direct crewmembers to take their temperature twice daily. Remind crewmembers to immediately report a fever, cough, or any difficulty breathing.

Check in with crewmembers periodically to make sure they continue to self-monitor and are not symptom

Crewmembers who are symptomatic with fever, cough or difficulty breathing should not work subsequent flight segments until they have been cleared by occupational health and public health officials. 

Immediately report—both to the local health department where the crewmember is located at the time (if the crewmember is located in the United States) and to CDC—any crewmember who has traveled to China within the last 14 days and has a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or other flu-like symptoms that prevent the crewmember from carrying out assigned duties.

 For this purpose, contact CDC by calling the Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100. CDC can also assist in contacting the state and local health department, if needed. 

Provide information to crewmembers regarding medical facilities in the vicinity of cities in which crewmembers remain overnight.

Develop a plan in the event a crewmember becomes symptomatic while in the crewmember’s domicile or personal residence. Advise crewmembers to report any fever, cough, or difficulty breathing to their local health department where they are located when they become symptomatic, in addition to the employer’s occupational health program.

The U.S. air carrier occupational health program may choose to exceed these recommendations based on their own policy.

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