Taiwan’s Flight Attendants Will Receive Full Protective Gear

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Taiwan has issued all flight crew for its home airlines full protective gear for the duration of the aviation crisis. The rollout of equipment should be completed by April 1st and will be issued out to Taiwanese carriers EVA Air, China Airlines and others.

The new protective gear. Photo: CECC of Taiwan

What are the details?

Taiwan has been quite successful in battling away the worst effects of the current crisis and the threat to its aviation industry. But today the Central Epidemic Command Center of Taiwan (CECC) took further steps to protect those on the front line (flight crews) by issuing them all with full protective gear.

The gear itself includes surgical masks, goggles, protective clothing, and gloves, which is the same equipment given to medical personnel. Looking at the photos, it is clear that this is a massive upgrade from only wearing facemasks.

Part of the danger of the virus is that is can survive on surfaces for much longer than in the air. Research suggests its survival is up to three days on metal and plastic, and 24 hours on cardboard.  These new measures are in place thanks to the Health Minister Chen Shih-Chung, who heads the CECC in Taiwan.

In addition to issuing this PPE (personal protective equipment), the CECC is considering mandating new passenger laws and regulations to ensure that passengers don’t put crews at risk. This may include letting staff know if they have any fever conditions, sitting them separately or preventing them from coughing on others.

So far the only rules in place for Taiwanese carriers are that passengers can bring their own bottles of disinfectant and PPE, but they cannot change seats on board the plane without permission from the flight crew.

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It is not clear at this stage what the ‘punishment‘ might be for those who break the rules, only that there will be some penalties soon in the future.

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Facemasks for the crew were previously the only item of PPE that they could wear. Photo: Getty Images

Will this be effective?

These new measures can’t come too soon for Taiwanese carriers, who have already reported flight attendants and pilots contracting the virus from overseas. These new measures will be in addition to the self-isolation rules already in place.

As Taiwan wants to protect its passengers, flight crews and local citizens from being infected, all long-haul flight crews will need to undergo five days of isolation when they return from overseas. If flight crews were flying on board a cargo aircraft, they will only be required to isolate for three days.

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China Airlines, a Taiwanese carrier, will receive the PPE materials. Photo: China Airlines

These are far shorter than the rules applied to passengers, who need to self-isolate for 14 days when arriving on the island. Whether or not this difference will be addressed in the future is unknown.

Taiwan doesn’t currently allow tourists to visit and has closed its airports to transit passengers, limiting those arriving in Taiwan to citizens and those with the right to live there.

What do you think about these rules? Is the Taiwan government doing enough to protect the flight crews? Let us know in the comments.

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