Coronavirus Covid-19: Port of Seattle increases prevention measures

4 March 2020 (Last Updated March 4th, 2020 11:47)

Amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, Washington's Port of Seattle has announced extra measures to safeguard the health of its employees and passengers at its facilities, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Coronavirus Covid-19: Port of Seattle increases prevention measures
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has increased its screening measures to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Credit: Minnaert.

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Amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, Washington’s Port of Seattle has announced extra measures to safeguard the health of its employees and passengers at its facilities, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Measures were first undertaken last month when the State of Washington confirmed its first case. The US has reported nine deaths from Covid-19 so far, all of which are in the Seattle area.

In total, the country has reported 125 cases, with 27 from Washington.

In order to limit the spread of the virus at the airport, the Port of Seattle has planned to disinfect the common airport areas. Employees are also being encouraged to maintain good hygiene.

More than 45 hand sanitisers have been installed in the airport, with a further 90 planned for the near future. The sanitisers are located at security checkpoints, jet bridges, boarding gate locations and ground transportation centres.

Airlines have also provided sanitiser sources at the airline check-in counters and gate areas.

Cleaning frequency has been increased at high-touch point areas, including escalator handrails, elevator buttons and ticketing kiosks.

Janitorial contractors were given training in biohazard cleaning, in the instance that it becomes necessary in the future. Hospital-grade disinfectant and wipes have also been provided to the contractors for better cleaning and response.

In addition, the cleaning procedures for buses and shuttles have been updated. Buses will now undergo cleaning multiple times a day.

Port of Seattle commission president Peter Steinbrueck said: “The Port, along with our aviation, maritime operators, and federal agencies are working together for the safety of our passengers and employees.

“Our port’s transportation facilities play a critical role in the local economy, millions of people and their personal lives. We appreciate the efforts by all employees and partners who are doing everything possible to keep travel safe for all.”

Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines have also adopted stringent precautions to protect their passengers and employees.