Going on vacation? Think twice before sneezing or coughing at the airport. Ynet reported on Tuesday that El Al Airlines will refuse boarding on its planes passengers who appear to have been infected with the H1N1 virus without a medical note to confirm their health.
The airline has been prepping to deal with the virus for the past couple of months, briefing its staff and equipping aircrafts with protective measures in case of a suspected sick person on board.
According to the company, in such cases the suspected passenger will be put into isolation and the cabin crew will treat the patient with masks, while disinfecting objects that have come in contact with the sick person.
Flight attendants and ground crews have been briefed and trained to detect possible symptoms of the flu according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines such as a runny nose, coughing and exhaustion.
According to the guidelines, the ground staff will report potentially sick travelers to the airlines' medical advisor.
Suspected passengers will not be allowed to fly without a doctor's permit confirming they are not sick with the virus.
No comment has been made by El Al regarding isolation on planes or detection procedures in airports.
Arkia airlines did not make any comments either, only saying that "the company is acting and will continue to act according to instructions given by the Ministry of Health and Israeli Civil Aviation Authority policies."
So far, 19 Israelis have died of the H1N1 virus following pre-existing medical conditions, the latest being an 88-year-old woman who died Monday night at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
According to estimates, 20 thousand Israelis have contracted the virus, 2,500 of them were detected through lab tests. According to the World Health Organization, over 209 thousand people around the world have contracted the virus, 2,185 of them have become sick.