The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has directed all operators, especially airlines operating regional and international flights into the country, to exercise a high level of vigilance

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had earlier declared the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in line with International Health Regulations

The directive which has since been sent to all airline operators was signed by NCAA Director-General, Muhtar Usman.

It comes days after scientists working on Ebola drugs recorded a ’90 per cent survival rates’ in a breakthrough trial.

According to a statement by the agency’s spokesperson, Sam Adurogboye, NCAA directed that airlines’ Pilots in Command (PIC) of aircraft are to report to Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected case of communicable disease onboard their flight in line with Nig.CARs 18.8.22.4.

In case of a suspected case of communicable disease onboard an aircraft, the aircrew is required to fill the General Declaration (Gen Dec) and Public Health Passenger Locator forms as required by the regulations.

After that, completed forms are to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) of the destination aerodrome

“In addition, airlines are to ensure they have onboard a valid and appropriate number of First Aid kits, Universal Precaution Kits (UPKs) and Emergency Medical kits in line with Nig.CARS 7.9.1.11 and 7.9.1.12.

“Airlines are to refresh the knowledge of their Crew members (flight deck and cabin crew) for improved and sustained proficiency in handling and communication with ATC of any suspected case of communicable disease on board,” it said.

The authority also directed that in case of death of a patient, the operating airlines should endeavour to contact Port Health Services for clearance before importing human remains into the country.

These airlines are to also to report to NCAA in writing any suspected case of communicable disease onboard any flight.

“Similarly, the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) shall immediately communicate to Port Health Services (PHS) any report of a suspected case of communicable disease on board aircraft in line with Nig. CARs 18.8.22.4,” it said.

The authority said it expects strict compliance and will collaborate with all relevant agencies to prevent the incursion of Ebola or any communicable disease into Nigeria.

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