The shimmering new space in Medina rises like a mirage from desert sands
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The Wuhan Tianhe International Airport has just opened for domestic flights (from April 8). While many are saying this is a significant milestone and a sign of hope, others are cautiously observers, checking if all safety meaures are in place to prevent another wave of infections. The city just emerged from a 76-day lockdown on April 6. It is part of China's gradual lifting of quarantine across the country. Last week, a mountain park saw 20,000 visitors in one day.
In Europe, governments are beginning to prepare for relaxing of lockdowns. As have their airports. ACI Europe, the trade body for airport operators, has started putting together task forces who will come up with a set of guidelines for health and hygiene issues for when air transport restarts across the world. The recommendations will be finalised by May, in co-ordination with ACI World.
Several airports are already drawing up industry-wide guidelines to make sure that when travel restrictions are slowly lifted, safety compliances are in place. Some are conducting body temperature checks on all passengers.
Many carriers are now providing cabin crew and pilots with masks. Some do not require their crew to wear them. It all depends on national health authority guidelines.
Meanwhile Emirates has resumed a limited number of flights, from Dubai to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels, and Zurich. Travellers have to follow safety procedures and restrictions, like bringing masks, hand gloves and following social distancing rules to avoi re-infections. The airlines has announced that passengers will have to check-in and arrive three hours ahead of departure to undergo afety processes such as thermal screening procedures. They have also said that they will not allow cabin baggage, except laptops, handbags, briefcases and baby items. The usual in-flight magazines and print reading material will not be available. Food and beverage services will be available, but modified to reduce contact. Their lounge and chauffeur services will be temporarily unavailable. All their aircrafts will go through disinfection procedures, after every journey.
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