Acsa steps up measures at country's airports to deal with coronavirus
Airports Company SA (Acsa) says that on the advice of the department of health it has intensified measures at the country’s airports to detect, manage and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The intensified precautionary measures are in addition to the continuing screening being undertaken by Port Health and are aligned to standards and protocols provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), according to Acsa CEO Mpumi Mpofu.
She was speaking after an inspection visit to the OR Tambo International Airport by the parliamentary portfolio committee on health, which she believes has contributed “significantly to assuring the public that airports are implementing measures to deal with the coronavirus”.
Mpofu said the tour of the airport terminal buildings enabled members of the committee to inspect the measures that have been implemented at international arrivals covering immigration and transit areas as well as the isolation facility for those with the disease symptoms.
She added that Acsa was encouraged by the positive response at the end of the inspection visit.
Said Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, chairperson of the committee: “As Committee members we were impressed by the measures being put in place by ACSA. We were also pleased to observe that strict protocols for screening incoming passengers by Port Health officials remains in place.”
Acsa said it continued to continued to encourage passengers and the airport community to practise general hygiene tips provided by the authorities, safe respiratory hygiene (by wearing masks) and avoiding infection through direct contact for people working at airports (by wearing gloves).
Hand sanitisers had also been placed at various points around airports. The frequency of disinfection cleaning of high-contact surfaces had also been increased.
“Further, in support of the department of health’s efforts to educate and create awareness among the general public, various forms of communication including video, digital and printed leaflets will be placed in terminal buildings and posted on social media platforms.”
Mpofu stressed that Acsa was ready to take action on more aggressive measures should the need arise.
SA reported its first case of the coronavirus (Covid-19) earlier this week — a Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal, man who visited Italy with his wife. The couple returned to SA on March 1.