Airports focus on sanitising to counter coronavirus outbreak

Members of KLIA’s cleaning crew sanitising trolleys during a media tour today.

SEPANG: Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) is pulling out all the stops to sanitise its airports following the coronavirus outbreak.

MAHB’s network of 39 Malaysian airports handled 105.2 million passengers last year, and while this number may be great for tourism officials, it poses numerous challenges from a healthcare perspective – especially in view of the coronavirus outbreak which now has 10 confirmed cases in the country.

Like other respiratory infections, the coronavirus is airborne and spreads between people the same way as the flu — through coughing and sneezing – making it all the more important that busy airports like KLIA are properly sanitised.

“Last time we cleaned, now we’re sanitising,” Malaysia Airports general manager (operations) Mohd Arif Jaafar told FMT today.

“One of the procedures we’ve done since Jan 25 is to disinfect critical touch points such as hand rails, trolleys, tabletops and lift buttons.

“We don’t want people to be fearful when they are here as we are following all of the guidelines set in place by the ministry of health,” he added.

Arif was speaking to FMT during a media tour at KLIA to show the efforts being taken by MAHB to sanitise the airport.

KLIA now deploys 320 cleaners per shift compared to 288 before the coronavirus outbreak. The number of cleaners in klia2, meanwhile, have risen from 260 to 280 per shift.

“We are all extra careful now, especially about using more sanitisers, face masks and rubber gloves,” said Mohammad Romzan, a member of the KLIA cleaning crew.

“So far everything is going well – we all just need to be more aware of the need to maintain hygiene.”