The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has recommended that cabin crew members wear disposable diapers when on chartered flights to high risk COVID-19 countries.
In the sixth version of the CAAC’s “Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Guideline for Airlines” publication, section 8 titled “Prevention and Control Measures for Special Transport Missions (Charter Flights) to/from Pandemic Countries/Regions” included updates regarding Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and other safety measures. Under subsubsubsection 188.8.131.52, crew members are advised to avoid using washrooms and use disposable diapers instead to avoid potentially infecting themselves due to the lack of adequate ventilation.
The organization also recommends using disposable rubber gloves, googles, caps, shoe covers and protective clothing as well. By the CAAC’s definition, high risk chartered flights count where there are 500+ COVID-19 infections per 1 million people at either the departing or arriving destination.
8.4 Prevention and Control Measures for Crew Members
8.4.1 Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
184.108.40.206 Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for cabin crew members: medical protective masks, double-layer disposable medical rubber gloves, goggles, disposable caps, disposable protective clothing, and disposable shoe covers. It’s recommended that cabin crew wear disposable diapers and avoid using lavatory unless in special circumstances to reduce the risk of infection.
While this sounds crazy, these recommendations are just that, only recommendations. On the flip side, why not just dedicate the washroom (or one of the washrooms) at the front of the aircraft for crew members only?
Subsubsection 8.3.5 speaks to that somewhat, recommending that a forward lavatory be assigned for crew member use only, but it seems to be more applicable in cases where wide body aircraft are used.
Lavatories in the first-class cabin are to be used exclusively by crew members and need to be thoroughly disinfected after each use. Two lavatories should be designated, to be used separately by flight and cabin crew. The lavatory on the rear right side of the cabin is for the exclusive use by those under quarantine, and the surface area should be disinfected every hour during the flight, with the hands cleaned and disinfected right after the completion of disinfection.
The guide also recommends that aircraft be split into four zone separated by disposable curtains to help reduce potential spread between passengers and crew members.
- Clean Area – The most forward zone (in the first few rows) dedicated to crew members only. No disposable wear or equipment should be brought into this area.
- Buffer Zone – The are separating the clean area from the passengers, where crew members can change into and out of protective wear and stored used items.
- Passenger Area – Used to seat health passengers.
- Emergency Quarantine Area – Using the last three rows as an area to seat passengers who show any sign of illness.
[Featured Photo: Tomás Del Coro/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) ]