Garuda planes on the tarmac at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Garuda Disinfects Planes After a Passenger Is Diagnosed With Coronavirus


FEBRUARY 14, 2020

Jakarta. Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has disinfected several of its planes that have been used on flights to Chinese destinations in the past two months to prevent the coronavirus outbreak from spreading to Indonesia, the company said in a statement on Friday. 

A jet that was used on the GA858 flight from Bali to Shanghai on Jan. 28 was singled out for special attention after authorities in China's Anhui province announced two days ago that a Chinese national onboard the aircraft had caught the Covid-19, a new official name for the novel coronavirus.  

"Garuda Indonesia has carried out the standard safety and hygiene precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus," Tumpal M. Hutapea, Garuda's operations director, said in the statement. 

Tumpal said Garuda sprayed liquid disinfectants on the cabin and cargo hold of its planes in accordance with standard biosafety procedures and regulations.

Garuda also replaced the high-efficiency particulate arrest (HEPA) filter – designed to kill viruses and bacteria in an aircraft cabin – on the jet used on the GA858 flight. 

All Garuda Indonesia aircraft are now equipped with the HEPA filter. 

"Garuda crew on flight duty to Chinese destinations undergo routine medical examinations at airports' Port Health Office (KKP) before and after their flight to ensure they are healthy," Tumpal said.

"All passengers traveling to and from Chinese destinations have been profiled and examined by medical officers at airports they go through," he said.

The airline urges passengers and all its flight and ground crew to wear masks and use hand sanitizers during their travels.  

Garuda suspended all its flights to and from China on Feb. 5 after the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 – that has so far killed 1,384 people, almost all in mainland China – a global health emergency and the Indonesian government issued a ban on all travelers coming from China.

Indonesia has yet to report any confirmed case of Covid-19 infection. A total of 64,447 people have been infected by the virus around the globe. A total of 7,116 have recovered completely from the pneumonia-like infection.