Ports activity sees people quarantined

A Nauru Airlines flight crew member (at top of stairway) and a Majuro ground crew member show proper procedure for exchanging documents following the no person-to-person contact requirements. The Nauru Airlines crew member placed a plastic bag at the top of the stairs and returned to the cabin, while the ground crew man then ascended the stairs to collect the package of documents. Photo: Giff Johnson.

After last Friday’s COW session at Nitijela, which partly addressed concern about a proposed, then cancelled, Nauru Airlines flight to repatriate Marshallese student from Fiji, a Nauru Airlines flight did come to Majuro Friday morning.

That flight, however, had no passengers and was only picking up a few LDS church missionaries and Australian citizens for flights south. The ground crew and Nauru Airlines crew followed the no person-to-person contact rules.

An airline crew member who was dressed in personal protective equipment placed a bag containing flight documents on the first step of the stairs outside the aircraft, then returned to the cabin. Then an airport representative, also donned in mask and gloves, climbed up the stairs, collected the bag and returned to the tarmac.

It was a different situation at Monday night’s arrival of United Airlines when several United ground crew, also wearing masks and gloves, went inside the cabin at both ends of the plane. Their actions of having contact with the interior of the plane as well as passengers and flight crew led to the Ministry of Health directing that they be quarantined at Arrak as “persons under active surveillance” (PUAS) a designation that is for precautionary purposes, according to the Ministry of Health and Human Services.
The ministry cautioned that the PUAS designation means only that they are in quarantine for observation and they are not sick or showing any symptoms.

The development prompted United Airlines corporate office in the US to appeal to the RMI to allow the local ground crew to do their jobs without needing to be put into quarantine. The five UA staff went into quarantine Tuesday night, according to Health authorities.
In addition to the United staff members, one ports pilot was put into quarantine as a PUAS last weekend for having boarded a container ship from Fiji in violation of no person-to-person contact rules to reduce the threat of spread of Covid-19. There was a large crowd at the airport Monday night for United’s only flight of the month.

Subscribe to the Marshall Islands Journal by clicking on the subscribe button at the right to read more about this and other news from the Marshall Islands.