Chinese cabin crew told to wear nappies and avoid the lavatory for Covid-19 safety

Ben Farmer
·2-min read
A China Eastern Airlines aircrew arrive at Sydney airport after landing on a plane from the Chinese city of Wuhan on January 23, 2020. - One of the last flights out of the epidemic-hit Chinese city of Wuhan was met by biosecurity officials on its arrival in Sydney but no ill passengers were found, health officials said. (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP) (Photo by PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images) - PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images
A China Eastern Airlines aircrew arrive at Sydney airport after landing on a plane from the Chinese city of Wuhan on January 23, 2020. - One of the last flights out of the epidemic-hit Chinese city of Wuhan was met by biosecurity officials on its arrival in Sydney but no ill passengers were found, health officials said. (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP) (Photo by PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images) - PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese cabin crew making charter flights to high-risk Covid-19 destinations have been told to wear disposable nappies and avoid using the lavatory.

Lengthy new guidance from the country's civil aviation authority details safety measures and protective equipment for crew.

The nappy advice is in a section on personal protective equipment, which also recommends the cabin crew wear medical protective masks, disposable rubber gloves, goggles, disposable caps and shoe covers, Bloomberg reported.

The guidance says: "It is recommended that cabin crew members wear disposable diapers and avoid using the lavatories barring special circumstances to avoid infection risks." 

Flight crew should wear masks and goggles, but do not need nappies.

The 38-page list of guidelines from the Civil Aviation Administration of China apply for charter flights to and from countries and regions where infections exceed 500 in every one million people.

The guidelines also advise dividing the cabin into “clean area, buffer zone, passenger sitting area and quarantine area,” separated by disposable curtains.

An emergency quarantine area should be set up in the last three rows.

The early onset of the pandemic in Wuhan badly hit the Chinese aviation sector, but the country has bounced back after quashing the outbreak and then successfully preventing it re-emerging.

By September, the number of domestic Chinese flights had topped 2019 levels, official data showed, as passenger numbers indicated domestic flying was nearing a full recovery.

Airlines have insisted that it is safe to fly during the pandemic, partly thanks to the hospital-grade air filters on planes, but some researchers say it isn’t yet clear to conclude there’s minimal risk. 

Some cases have documented transmission on flights when passengers wore masks and sat far apart.