Coronavirus: air passengers must wear face masks

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Travelers wearing facial masks as a precaution, on the KLM side at Schiphol Airport during the covid-19 pandemic.

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Some major airlines now require passengers to wear a face mask on flights to limit the spread of viruses.

Many major US airlines are introducing new health and safety policies for passengers and cabin crew this week.

Other carriers around the world also require the wearing of a mask when flights restart.

With around 90% of international flights canceled, airlines hope to resume air travel gradually starting this month.

As of Monday, the US carrier Delta has stated that it requires passengers to wear a mask or other face covering in the check-in area, premium lounges, boarding areas and planes on board for everything the flight.

American Airlines and United have also announced that they will begin to require masks for passengers, as well as cabin crew. Carriers say these are temporary measures because they are slowly resuming their flights.

“We look after the well-being of our customers to give them peace of mind when traveling with us,” said Kurt Stache, spokesperson for American Airlines. “We are progressing quickly on these improvements and will continue to improve the travel experience for our customers and team members as we sail together. “

“Face covers will be mandatory for all passengers and (we) will provide passenger masks for free,” said Maddie King, spokesperson for United Airlines.

But not all airlines require passengers to wear face masks. Qantas said there is “no obligation in Australia to wear masks. No decision has been made by government or airlines as to what measures will be put in place for travel after the restrictions are lifted. “

The Australian national carrier said on its website: “Although the risk of getting a coronavirus on board an aircraft is considered low, social distancing has been put in place on all flights. He is currently following the directions of the Australian chief medical officer.

When it comes to global policy for airlines, there are a number of organizations that could offer advice, including the International Air Transport Association. (IATA). “Using a face cover in flight is one of the measures proposed in an industry roadmap for restarting flights that we are discussing with industry stakeholders and governments,” said one IATA spokesperson.

Other measures

Airlines are taking a series of safety measures on board to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is unclear whether these will be temporary or longer term measures.

The main pre-flight cleaning measures to disinfect heavily used areas are widely used, while reducing the number of people on each flight.

Passengers are also encouraged to bring their own food and drink to reduce contact.

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