It has now been confirmed that a passenger travelling on Tiger Australia flight TT566 from Melbourne to the Gold Coast has tested positive for Coronavirus. The flight on 27 January landed at the Gold Coast at 8.00 p.m. Overnight, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency with the viral novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV.
Your union has been working with airline representatives to discuss the response to the Coronavirus outbreak and the precautions being put in place for ground operations staff with direct passenger contact.
If you or someone you know becomes unwell or concerned that they may have symptoms of Coronavirus, immediately seek medical advice. Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Affected people may experience fever, flu like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and headaches, and difficulty breathing.
If you have any other concerns about your welfare at work you can always talk more with your Union delegate or contact your branch.
How to protect yourself and help prevent the spread of the virus
Most generally, it is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention. Unless you are in direct contact with a person displaying symptoms, good hygiene practice is your best protection from the virus. To protect yourself, the Australian Government Department of Health says:
- Practice good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet.
- Use hand-sanitising packs that should be provided to you by your employer.
- Avoid contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact).
Due to the nature of global travel, Airlines workers are regularly exposed to overseas outbreaks of communicable diseases. Most ASU members can trust that their Airline has in place good procedures to contain outbreaks such as Coronavirus. Ground operations members will begin to see hand-sanitising packs masks and gloves being made available to them and should be supported by their employer to make their own decisions about how best to take precautions in relation to using personal protective equipment.
The ASU also trusts medical advice about the effectiveness of masks and gloves to adequately protect members from communicable diseases. For this type of health issue, masks are most effective for a symptomatic person to prevent further contagion and may protect you when you are working in direct contact with a symptomatic person. Gloves are also effective but only if they are changed regularly and are not used instead of good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene.
Details about Coronavirus are changing every day. We’re continuing to monitor the latest updates and will come back to you when we have more information.
For more information contact your ASU organiser or the ASU office at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 03 9342 3300.