NAIA workers train for Ebola, MERS-CoV threats

Posted at 08/20/14 8:18 PM

MANILA -- More than 100 workers of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) attended an information and awareness seminar launched by the Department of Health (DOH) and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Wednesday.

Frontline workers of the Bureau of Quarantine, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) attended the seminar conducted by the DOH.

Robert Simon, officer-in-charge of the Security and Emergency Services Department of MIAAm invited Dr. Alexander Oba, division chief, Ports and Airports Health Services Division of the Bureau of Quarantine to conduct the seminar.

Simon said the awareness campaign is intended to educate government workers at the airport on Ebola and MERS-CoV.

Oba said transport workers are considered low-risk carriers of Ebola and MERS-CoV, unless an individual has direct contact with contaminated passengers.

He also allayed fears of airport workers, adding that direct contact with infected persons can be avoided by simply observing proper hygiene and proper health care.

Oba added that the Philippines remains free from Ebola and MERS-CoV.

Oba said the DOH is coordinating with the Airline Operators Council and the Organization of Airlines in the Philippines to strictly implement the health checklist required for all incoming passengers.

"There has been reports of passengers resisting or not cooperating with health quarantine personel, not realizing the danger it poses to their families if they are infected or contaminated," Oba said

He added that increasing the awareness of individuals about Ebola and MERS-CoV is enough.

He said they are closely coordinating with the Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration (OWWA) to monitor the whereabouts of some 3,000 overseas Filipino workers in affected African countries.

MIAA is equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) and recommends the immediate isolation of any aircraft and its passengers in case of contamination.

"The airport authority is prepared for the worst scenario, but we pray that God forbids this to happen," Simon said.