Coronavirus: Emirates steps up cleaning process on Dubai flights

The airline deploys up to 36 cleaners per plane, spraying long lasting germ killer and changing air filters between flights

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Emirates Airline has begun deep cleans of each of its aircraft, spraying long-lasting chemicals on surfaces and swapping out air filters between flights.

The carrier shared a video on Sunday of teams scrubbing surfaces at its hub at Dubai International Airport.

Cleaners scour windows, tray tables, personal video screens, armrests, seats, in-seat controls, panels, air vents and overhead lockers, in addition to toilets, galleys and crew rest areas.

If an aircraft is believed to have transported a confirmed or suspected Covid-19 case, the cleaning procedure is even more rigorous.

“Emirates would go even further, and implement deep cleaning and disinfection in a process that takes between six to eight hours to complete,” said a spokeswoman for the airline.

Emirates steps up cleaning procedures to combat coronavirus

Emirates steps up cleaning procedures to combat coronavirus

“This includes the defogging of cabin interiors and misting with disinfectant across all soft furnishings, and replacement of seat covers and cushions in the affected area.”

On Saturday, the airline said it would allow passengers to change travel dates for free without penalty for any destination. It applies to all tickets issued on or from March 7 until March 31. New bookings can be made for up to 11 months in advance. Etihad is waiving changes for teachers, many of whom will now spend the holidays planning for distance learning programmes from March 22.

In other developments, smart gates used to quickly get travellers though security at Dubai International and Dubai World Central were closed for departing passengers.

On Sunday, the first day of a two-week spring break, Dubai's education regulator KHDA "strongly" urged teachers, school staff and families not to travel abroad during the holidays.

In a letter to schools and parents, officials said teachers, pupils and parents could be subject to a 14-day home quarantine, if they return from an outbreak hot spot, for example.

“All private school principals must notify all staff members of this instruction and inform them that they will potentially be subject to a 14-day quarantine period and other relevant procedures upon their return from any of the countries specified by the relevant authorities," it read.

KHDA reiterated that despite the fact schools are physically closed to pupils, home learning programmes must be put in place and run during school hours from March 22 to April 2.

Schools are turning to programmes such as Google Classroom, ClassJojo and Microsoft 365 and using Skype-like video streaming such as Cisco Webex to beam teachers into pupils homes.

Also on Sunday, Union Coop, one of the largest supermarket operators in the UAE, reassured shoppers that it has enough hand sanitiser and cleaning products to meet demand.

“Personal care supplies, especially hand sanitisers are available in sufficient quantities that meet the need of shoppers," said Suhail Al Bastaki, head of marketing at Union Coop, which has 17 supermarkets and runs two malls.

He said prices - which have reportedly been hiked up by sellers in some countries - "have not seen any rise or any change".

The company said it has a stock of all essential goods and that "meetings were held last month with suppliers and factories to ensure the continued availability of goods and products".