The Collegiate Board of Anvisa approved, this Thursday (12/5), the amendment of the Resolution of the Collegiate Board (RDC) 456/2020, in order to allow the flexibility of the health measures to be adopted in airports and aircraft, due to of the closure of the Public Health Emergency of National Importance (ESPIN) as a result of human infection with the new coronavirus.
The updating of the rules was possible thanks to the development of vaccines against Covid-19 and the advance of vaccination of the Brazilian population, which allowed a significant reduction in the number of cases and deaths in Brazil, even with the emergence and advancement of new variants. Despite this, the situation of Public Health Emergency of International Concern declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) remains, which requires that the measures to be adopted at airports and aircraft are still cautious and proportionate to the risk.
In his vote, director Alex Campos, rapporteur for the matter, highlighted that “the flexibilities were only viable due to the maintenance of the use of personal protective masks in these environments”. The director also reiterated that “measures need to be gradual, risks need to be continually evaluated and weighed. The layers of protection aim to allow the monitoring of the benefits brought by new measures implemented, as well as any associated risks”.
Understand the new measures
Considering the current epidemiological scenario, in which the risk of exposing travelers to index cases (infected people) is greatly reduced, and the maintenance of the mandatory use of masks in restricted areas of airports and aircraft, which constitutes an additional barrier of protection for to avoid contamination of passengers, the following flexibilities were authorized by the Agency and will take effect on May 22:
- Resumption of on-board food service.
- Permission to remove mask to eat on board.
The Agency recommends that on-board services be as brief as possible, so as not to significantly impair the use of face protection masks by travelers. It also recommends that all solid waste generated by the on-board service be collected as soon as possible, with special attention being paid to objects that may have had direct or indirect contact with the travelers’ mouths, such as glasses, plates, forks and others.
- Return of the use of maximum capacity for passenger transport.
The deliberate proposal allows the resumption of the usual activity of buses commonly used to transport passengers for boarding and disembarking aircraft located in the remote area.
- Removal of the restriction to carry out cleaning and disinfection procedures on the aircraft only with the aircraft empty.
Aircraft cleaning and disinfection procedures may take place even before the completion of passengers disembarkation. However, it is noteworthy that the rules established by RDCs 2/2003 and 56/2008 remain valid and must be complied with.
- Physical distance between passengers, whenever possible.
The effectiveness of this non-pharmacological measure for the prevention of contagion in confined environments is clear. Therefore, the recommendation of physical distance between passengers remains, but without imposing character.
- Maintenance of the use of face masks.
The proper use of masks protects not only the individual, but the community, which is why it is an important public health tool. Thus, maintaining the mandatory use of the mask provides the security currently necessary for the suppression of other restrictive measures and for a gradual return to normality, always guided by the principle of precaution and health protection.
- Maintenance of landing by rows.
The disembarkation of aircraft in an orderly manner by rows is a measure that reduces agglomerations in the aircraft corridor and, consequently, is effective in reducing the risk of contagion.
- Maintenance of audible warnings.
The audible warnings will be maintained, but adjusted to the current pandemic scenario. The Agency highlights that the adoption of sound information on flights is evaluated as the most effective measure of communication with travelers.
The measure of dissemination of recommendations and health requirements to travelers remains necessary, especially at this time of transition, in order to keep travelers updated on current measures.
Anvisa’s performance in relation to traveler health
The Agency, throughout the pandemic, followed the epidemiological scenario of the country, so that it could adopt health measures proportional to the risk to protect the health of the population.
The Technical Notes edited by Anvisa guided the national policy on borders, under the terms of Law 13.979/2020. The adoption of vaccination as a guiding criterion for the health security of national borders, reducing the risk of transmission of Sars-CoV-2 and the introduction of new variants in Brazil during the most critical moments of the pandemic, for example, was a measure recommended by the Agency to minimize risks that was incorporated into the interministerial decrees that define exceptional and temporary measures for entry into the country.
Furthermore, as a result of constant monitoring of the epidemiological scenario, Anvisa released Technical Note 40/2022/SEI/COVIG/GGPAF/DIRE5/ANVISA, in which it recommended updating the measures to restrict the international transit of travelers imposed to face the public health emergency of national importance resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic (https://www.gov.br/anvisa/pt-br/assuntos/noticias-anvisa/2022/copy_of_SEI_ANVISA1808155NotaTecnicacomunicado_compressed.pdf).
And today, with the same care taken in border control, the Agency approved a rule that updates the set of measures to be adopted at airports and aircraft, aiming to take care of travellers’ health, a fundamental mission of this Agency.
The new normative act will provide an adequate transitional period for precautionary sanitary measures, given that they aim to maintain the protection of the community.
The Resolution will enter into force on May 22.
Access, in full, the Rapporteur’s Vote and Technical Note 58/2022/SEI/COVIG/GGPAF/DIRE5/ANVISA