South Africa aviation sector Intervention will ensure the bolstering of measures to improve screening and detection of suspected Covid-19 symptoms at ports of entry while making it mandatory for personnel who work at the airports use surgical masks and gloves when handling persons, baggage and cargo.
Following the presidents declaration of a national state of disaster Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula in his statement at the media briefing said: “All airline and/or ground handling staff carrying out assisted passenger services (especially passengers with reduced mobility) are required to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (surgical mask and gloves) when facilitating arriving international passengers”.
“All handling agent staff that are at a high risk of contact (including, but not limited to passenger escorting, VIP services facilitation, ticket sales, baggage handling and loading, aircraft grooming, catering services, cargo handling agents, bus drivers and crew transport drivers) are required to wear PPE (surgical masks and gloves)” he added.
Foreign nationals on charter flights or private jets coming from countries that are on the travel ban will not be allowed into South Africa and Charter operators with suspected cases that involve a South African will be re-routed to airports that have the necessary ports health capability.
Speaking on public transportation, his statement reads: “The Taxi industry transports more than 16 million people and represents a critical sector which must be at the forefront of robust interventions and awareness to manage the risks”.
He added “We will implement an aggressive information drive to create awareness and promote preventative measures”. “Taxi and bus operators must become ambassadors whose task is to disseminate information”.
In other to mitigate the risk of transmission “random testing measures will be implemented in the public transport environment, with particular emphasis on the commuter rail” the statement added.
Cross border transportation will also be affected as health and border management officials will ensure the screening of truck drivers while providing information that is essential for their travel.
The Transport department alongside the border management authorities will enforce the closure of 35 land ports of entry out of the 53 land ports into South Africa.
These 35 land ports were only responsible for movement of persons and are non- commercial ports with zero capacity from the ports health department to perform screening detection and testing of possible Covid-19 symptoms.
“Cross Border Road Transport Agency is reviewing permit issuance to discourage all non-essential cross border movement and will be in discussion with the Department of Transport, Provinces and SADC member states,” the minister said.
“The necessary regulations to enable these measures have been developed and will be implemented on time for the measures to kick in on 18 March 2020” Minister Fikile Mbalula concluded.
Compiled by Abiodun Abidoye member Southern African Freelancers Association and Publisher@AfricaOnlineNews.Blog