PAL, Cebu Pac places flight crew on quarantine as airlines start contact tracing of PH coronavirus case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 31)— Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Friday said they have established various safety measures— including placing flight crews on quarantine— as the companies confirmed the flight history of the Philippines' first confirmed case of novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).

In a statement, PAL said the crew who flew the 38-year-old female Chinese national from Dumaguete to Manila on January 25 has already been placed under quarantine. The group includes two pilots and four attendants, PAL added.

In a separate statement, Cebu Pacific said the aircraft used for their Hong Kong-Cebu and Cebu-Dumaguete flights were also pulled out for disinfection.

Crew for both flights showed no symptoms of illnesses, Cebu Pacific noted.

Both airlines said they have started tracking down the passengers of their flights who may have come in contact with the patient.

“We are also working to trace any onward journeys made by these passengers and crew on other flights, in case there is a need for BOQ (Bureau of Quarantine) to contact other people for precautionary medical observation,” PAL said in a statement.

The Health Department earlier said authorities will also trace the establishments—including hotels and restaurants—that the Chinese national visited during her trip. Cebu officials, who have begun looking for people exposed to the coronavirus patient, said the Chinese woman did not visit Cebu City and only stayed at the airport for over four hours after arriving from Hong Kong.

Cebu Pacific and PAL also vowed to impose safeguard measures to allay fears of future passengers. These include aircraft disinfection, cabin air filtering, and face mask policy requirement for the flights’ front line crew.

Several local and international airlines on Thursday said they will cancel select flight to some Chinese cities amid the continued rise of coronavirus cases around the world.

READ: PAL, Cebu Pacific, others cancel flights to some Chinese cities

More than 200 people have been killed by the mysterious respiratory illness in China, CNN reported Friday. Over 9,000 cases were also listed.

After the Philippines confirmed its first coronavirus case, President Rodrigo Duterte issued an order to temporarily stop the entry of all nationals from Hubei province— where the ground zero of the disease’s outbreak is located.