by Linda Straker
- MBIA has begun upscaling preparation for accepting and isolating any incoming passenger displaying flu-like symptoms
- Purchase of upgraded isolation 4-bed unit that is like a mobile mini-hospital approved
- Mobile unit will arrive in Grenada in the coming weeks ahead
Wendy Francette-Williams, General Manager of the Grenada Airports Authority (GAA) has disclosed that the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA), has begun the process of upscaling its preparation for accepting and isolating any incoming passenger should he/she display flu-like symptoms that will classify them as a suspected case of the 2019 coronavirus.
“The Airports Authority in its quest to improve, in terms of our resources, have now approved the purchase of an upgraded isolation unit, a 4-bed unit that is like a mini-hospital but it is mobile,” Francette-Williams said while a guest at the weekly post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday morning.
The upgraded mobile unit will arrive in Grenada in the coming weeks ahead.
Disclosing that every decision taken with regards to upscaling its standard health protocol is being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the general manager said that all airports worldwide already have guided regulations which provide how to handle health-related pandemics.
After the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that it had escalated its warning about the coronavirus which started in Wuhan, China, the airport started the process of upscaling its normal surveillance.
“In that regard, the airport has increased training for our staff via our safety manager,” said Francette-Williams who pointed out that training is for all, but special focus is on those who are more at risk in the airport environment.
Some of the more at risk workers include Aviation Services of Grenada (ASG) staff who clean the planes, customer service staff who greet passengers at the passenger arrival hall, immigration and customs officers.
As part of its upscaling preparation, the GAA has also filed a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for all incoming aircraft and pilots. Francette-Williams said that the notice mandates the action required before landing in Grenada once a suspected case is identified onboard. According to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) website, a NOTAM is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight.
“The airport has already sent out a NOTAM to all incoming aircraft and pilots with immediate effect, that if anyone onboard displays flu-like symptoms we must know before that aircraft lands on our shores, so that when it does land we could mobilise long before it lands.” She explained that all suspected persons go through a secondary screening process, isolated where necessary and then quarantined. “If an airplane has to be isolated, we have protocols in place for that,” she added.
In the news briefing which was led by Health Minister, Nikolas Steele, and included other high-ranking health officials, it was disclosed that Grenada will be following the guidelines set by WHO and Carpha to ensure citizens remain safe.
Testing of suspected cases to confirm that the person is indeed affected by the 2019 coronavirus will be done at St George’s University (SGU) and the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA.