Afraid to catch the coronavirus on the plane?

Emirates airline announced on Tuesday that social distancing requirements will now be observed aboard its commercial passenger flights to provide peace of mind to travelers during these uncertain times.

All its cabin crew will also wear personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes a safety visor, masks, gloves, and a disposable gown worn over their uniforms.

The airline has been operating limited outbound flights to some destinations, such as London and the United States, to help repatriate stranded tourists and facilitate the return of expatriates who want to go home during the pandemic.

The UAE government had earlier suspended all inbound, outbound and transit flights to stem the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, which has now infected more than 2.4 million people worldwide.

It’s not clear yet whether Emirates’ latest measures signal the resumption of commercial inbound flights to Dubai. However, the airline confirmed to Zawya that flyers can now book flights for next month.

“Currently, some of our flights are available for booking from 1st May, however, the situation remains dynamic and these flight services could be subject to change,” the airline said in response to Zawya’s query.

“We are closely monitoring the situation, and we hope to resume services as soon as conditions allow,” the airline added.

The number of coronavirus cases in the country has been on the rise since the country conducted mass testing. Out of the more than hundreds of thousands of tests, more than 7,200 people tested positive for coronavirus.

Even before the widespread lockdowns, many passengers had already cancelled non-essential travel, as they feared for their personal safety. Studies have indicated that passengers are prone to contracting a virus on the plane.

Precautionary measures

To keep everyone safe, Emirates said on Tuesday it is stepping up precautionary measures both at the airport and on board its aircraft.

On board the aircraft, seats are pre-allocated with vacant seats placed between individual passengers or family groups.

On the ground, the airline’s boarding agents and other staff who are in direct contact with passengers will also wear PPE gear.

Last week, Emirates became the first airline to conduct pre-boarding blood tests among its passengers. The airline first administered the rapid test to flyers bound for Tunisia and processed the results in just 10 minutes.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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