International medical flights in context with Coronavirus outbreak

virus infection

Germany-based international air ambulance operator FAI has announced that in line with recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it will currently not transport patients who have been confirmed to have 2019-nCoV

The company said it will accept contact-only patients on a case-by-case basis, if the following requirements are met:

  • Health authorities of all involved countries are permitting transport
  • The receiving hospital is fully informed and willing to accept the patient
  • The involved ground ambulance services are briefed accordingly and accept the patient
  • FAI pilots and medical staff are not making use of their right to decline a mission.

Strict hygiene measures will be applied to all flights of this nature; with protocols including, but not limited to:

  • Medical staff to wear FFP3 (=N95) masks, disposable protective gowns and gloves at all times
  • Pilots only, when assisting in patient loading / unloading or other close contact
  • Patient to wear surgical face mask (if tolerated also FFP3 mask)
  • Strict adherence to hand hygiene

For intubated / ventilated patients:

  • closed suctioning system
  • double filters (e.g. PALL), one at the ET tube, the other at the ventilator
  • very restrictive use of aerosol / droplet generating procedures

furthermore, no relatives or other non-medical escorts are allowed on board, with the exception of parents of small children, although this is subject to individual case by case decision. All waste to be collected and sealed in biohazard plastic bags, and after a mission is completed all surfaces in the cabin will be subject to meticulous disinfection according to a strict hygiene plan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring developments around a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in close to 300 confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan City, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally. A number of countries, including the United States, have been actively screening incoming travellers from Wuhan and exported human infections with the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, and The Republic of Korea. The United States announced their first infection with 2019-nCoV detected in a traveller returning from Wuhan. The first case in the United States was announced o