1.23.20 – What We Know Now About the Novel Coronavirus Virus (2019-nCoV) & Worldwide Precautions

APFA Special Hotline

Thursday, January 23, 2020

What We Know Now About the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) & Worldwide Precautions

APFA is calling on all airlines to institute immediate emergency measures, including providing crew members the latest information regarding the 2019-nCoV outbreak, identifying the signs and symptoms of illness (in oneself and others), and practical procedures to manage potentially ill persons. Airlines must utilize the information from relevant U.S. authorities including the CDC, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and international authorities including the World Health Organization (WHO) & the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

APFA is reaching out to the Unions in our labor coalition and APFA is pressing management to be proactive and err on the side of caution with regards to the protection of our crews. Our Flight Attendants’ and passengers’ health is our primary concern.


What We Know*

  • The novel coronavirus: 17 people are reported dead in China, and approximately 600 confirmed infected as the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak continues to spread throughout Asia and across the world.
  • The novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, Central China, last month is now creating growing concern for air travel and is impacting flight operations to and from our Asian Gateway Cities. One (1) confirmed case has now been identified in Washington state. One (1) case has just been reported in Los Angeles with a passenger traveling from Mexico City.
  • Beijing has canceled New Year celebrations: Authorities in the Chinese capital have canceled all large-scale Lunar New Year celebrations to contain the spread of the virus.
  • Precautions worldwide: Some countries, including the U.S., U.K., and Australia, will begin health screenings at airports. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization will decide today whether the virus constitutes “a public health emergency of international concern.”
  • The CDC started health screenings for Wuhan passengers arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
  • The virus implicated in this outbreak is part of a large family of coronaviruses that circulate in animals and occasionally cross species barriers to infect humans. Past examples of coronaviruses that have infected humans and adversely affected international travel include SARS and MERS.
  • Wuhan Airport is currently on lockdown: Wuhan, the city of 11 million people where the outbreak began, is under partial lockdown in an effort to contain the spread. Huanggang, a neighboring city about 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the east, is also under restrictions.
  • Latest Information as provided by the CDC:  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china

*Source of information on the Novel Coronavirus


Protect Yourself and Passengers

It is important that crews take appropriate steps against the spread of communicable diseases. Review universal precautions in the IFM.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated, “while originally thought to be spreading from animal-to-person, there are growing indications that limited person-to-person spread is happening. It’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people.”

This situation is fluid, and APFA will provide additional updates as they become available. APFA will participate in an FAA/DOT/CDC conference call on Wednesday, January 29, and we will provide updates as they become available.

In Unity,

Lori Bassani
APFA National President

Liz Geiss
APFA National Vice President

Catherine Sharp
APFA National Health Chair

Thomas Houdek
APFA National Safety & Security Chair

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