PETALING JAYA: The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) has joined in the call for airline companies to immediately suspend all flights to China because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The union said the lives of flight crews and passengers must be the priority over business, adding that they should not be put at risk as viruses can spread easily in planes.
It also urged the government to consider suspending flights from China, stressing that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared an international emergency over the deadly virus.
“Many airlines have stopped flying into China and if all the airlines do the same, they can slow the spreading of this virus, too.
“Airlines have the responsibility to take these precautionary steps without having us to tell them what to do.
“It’s common sense as we don’t want to see unnecessary quarantine and problems for the crew when they travel to these places,” it said in a statement.
The union said halting flights would be cheaper for airlines than installing planes with hepa filters if they were committed to ensuring the safety and health of passengers.
“The plane is in fact the worst place to be in as there are hundreds of viruses airborne and in the matter of a few hours, they will spread. Both passengers and crew are naturally exposed when they travel for a few hours in flight.”
It said members and their families had voiced their concerns to the union over the ongoing flights to China.
Governments, companies and people around the world have already been escalating efforts to contain the outbreak, believed to have emerged from an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Many countries have urged their citizens not to visit China, while some have banned entry of travellers from Wuhan. Russia also said it was closing its far eastern border with China.