Flight attendants fear spreading coronavirus while working

2020 03 25T171140Z_598826673_RC24RF9RCFIB_RTRMADP_3_HEALTH CORONAVIRUS BRAZIL.JPG2020 03 25T171140Z_598826673_RC24RF9RCFIB_RTRMADP_3_HEALTH CORONAVIRUS BRAZIL.JPG

Flight attendants.

REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes


  • Some flight attendants are worried that they may be spreading coronavirus because of travel and lack of personal protective equipment.
  • Flight attendants around the world are mostly exempt from lockdown order, because they’re considered essential employees.
  • The coronavirus has infected more than a million people around the world.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Along with doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other essential workers, flight attendants are on the frontlines facing COVID-19, the coronavirus disease. Several flight attendants told Time that they fear they’re spreading COVID-19 with every flight they take and passenger they interact with as they lack PPE. 

The coronavirus has infected more than one million around the world. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared it a pandemic. The virus has disrupted travel worldwide, leading to flight cancellationsquarantines, and other breakdowns in movement and supply chains. Airlines have been hit especially hard, and several have already collapsed. 

Despite these conditions, some airlines are still flying, and flight attendants are afraid. Here’s what they had to say.

One flight attendant said “They are doing nothing but giving us wipes. We’re like bees scattering pollen everywhere.”

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Flight attendants.

Reuters


Source: Time

Flight attendants say they can only get out of work with a doctor’s note or positive COVID-19 test result, and some say they’ve even had to fly while awaiting test results.

2020 04 05T013451Z_2_LYNXMPEG330KC_RTROPTP_4_HEALTH CORONAVIRUS AIRLINES USA.JPG

Flight attendants.

Reuters


Source: Time

They describe feeling worry and guilt while assisting elderly passengers, because they could be exposing them to the virus.

2020 04 05T013451Z_2_LYNXMPEG330KF_RTROPTP_4_HEALTH CORONAVIRUS AIRLINES USA.JPG

Flight attendants.

Reuters


Source: Time

Flight attendants said that previously they could be punished for wearing protective equipment like masks and gloves.

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Flight attendants.

REUTERS


Source: Time

Now, they say that they aren’t provided with sufficient equipment like masks and cleaning products to keep them safe.

Flight attendant mask

File photo: Flight attendants wear medical masks at Novosibirsk International Airport, January 30, 2020.

Kirill KukhmarTASS via Getty Images


Source: Time

Some are sharing tips for cleaning cabins with homemade products beyond what is mandated by the airline.

empty plane coronavirus

Empty plane.

Getty


Source: Time

Flight attendants fear that they are constantly at risk, sitting next to each other on flights and using the same bathrooms as passengers.

Empty Delta plane at JFK coronavirus

Air travelers grab carry-on luggage behind rows of empty seats aboard a Delta flight, as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) disruption continues across the global industry, from New York’s JFK International Airport to San Francisco, California, U.S., March 17, 2020.

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


Source: Time

When medical emergencies happen, flight attendants are expected to act as emergency personnel — without PPE.

coronavirus flight attendant

A Japan Airlines staff member — not the woman who was infected — wears a mask while working in Los Angeles International Airport on January 23, 2020.

Mario Tama/Getty Images


Source: Time

One flight attendant told Time that she cries every time she goes to the airport, fearful that she will catch the virus from one of her coworkers.

coronavirus plane flight diamond princess containment unit

A U.S. health official in a protective suit standing in front of a portable bio-containment unit speaks to U.S. passengers who have chosen to leave the Diamond Princess cruise ship, on a chartered evacuation aircraft to fly back to the United States, at Haneda airport in Japan, February 17, 2020.


Philip and Gay Courter/Reuters



Source: Time

Some also said that they are staying in apartments with other flight crews so they don’t infect their families.

flight attendant

Flight attendants.

Adnan Abidi/Reuters


Source: Time

They worry about being stuck quarantined away from their home cities if they test positive or are exposed to the coronavirus while on a trip.

Coronavirus

File photo: JANUARY 23, 2020: A Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being) official uses a thermal imaging device to conduct a temperature check of passengers arriving at Krasnoyarsk International Airport on a plane from Cam Rahn, Vietnam, in connection with an outbreak of coronavirus.

Andrei Samsonov/Getty


Source: Time

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By |2020-04-05T20:26:42+00:00April 5th, 2020|Business|0 Comments

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