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Airline Passengers Asked To ‘Self Monitor’

[Updated] A passenger on last night’s AA Miami flight was identified as “having influenza-like symptoms” and the person was provided with a mask, transferred by ambulance to the hospital, and the Ministry of Health are now “contacting passengers on that flight and asking them to self-monitor for any symptoms.”

The Ministry said, “Yesterday evening [March 4], a passenger onboard the American Airlines’ Miami flight was identified by cabin crew as having influenza-like symptoms.

“That individual was provided with a mask and disembarked from the aircraft by the Port Nurse upon arrival at L. F. Wade International Airport.

“That passenger had no travel history which would classify them as ‘high-risk’ for COVID-19 as they had not been to a country identified by the World Health Organization [WHO] as one with ongoing transmission of COVID-19.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the individual was transferred by ambulance to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital where they were monitored and later discharged for self-monitoring at home. That individual was tested for both COVID-19 and influenza and results are pending.

“In the meantime, Ministry of Health personnel continue to investigate the matter and are contacting passengers on that flight and asking them to self-monitor for any symptoms.”

The Minister of Health Kim Wilson said, “We understand and appreciate that other passengers on that flight are feeling concerned and anxious and may have questions so we are in the process of setting up a hotline for those individuals so they can call and speak to a medical professional. Passengers should be prepared to share their name and seat allocation. We will communicate that number with them shortly.”

“It should be noted that the aircraft was thoroughly cleaned by personnel trained in handling situations where there has been a possible contamination of that aircraft,” the Ministry noted.

“Just because you have respiratory symptoms, it does not automatically make you a suspect COVID-19 case,” explained Chief Medical Officer Dr. Cheryl Peek-Ball. “However, it is extremely important to be vigilant and report any symptoms if you feel you may have come into contact with someone who may have the virus or if you have travelled to a place deemed by WHO has being ‘high risk’.”

The Ministry added, “Travel advice is updated daily on the Government’s website www.gov.bm/health-information. As a reminder, travel advice is currently as follows: The Ministry of Health is discouraging travel to affected areas with reported sustained or ongoing community transmission of COVID-19 and related travel routes. These include: China, Iran, Northern Italy, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.

“Travelers who have been in affected areas should be prepared to self-quarantine until a risk assessment is completed by a public health officer. A public health officer will then assess what public health measures should be implemented based on the travellers’ risk level.

“Public health measures may include active monitoring or supervision of self-monitoring by public health authorities, or the application of movement restrictions, including isolation and quarantine, when needed to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 in Bermuda.

“It is important to remind members of the public that if they feel unwell with respiratory symptoms, to please call ahead before entering any healthcare facility.”

Update 8.38pm: The Ministry said, “The Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit [ESU] can confirm that for those travelers on the Miami flight #AA308 which arrived March 4th, 2020, there is no need to take any extraordinary measures for infection prevention or control.

“There appears to be no need for isolation or self-quarantine of the passengers on the flight in question. However, as this is flu season, persons should monitor their health for respiratory symptoms, and if they occur, stay home from group settings and contact their health care provider by phone for advice. This is in accordance with the CDC risk assessment for potentially exposed travelers.