PESHAWAR - Employees of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have complained of lack of protective equipment while perform­ing duties amid the coronavirus out­break as two of the airlines employees were hospitalised after falling victims to the virus.

Waqas Jahangir, a flight steward, was hospitalised after he returned on a flight from Jeddah, while Faheem Jan from the engineering department of PIA was also hospitalised two days ago.

Speaking to The Nation on condition of anonymity – since it may result in dis­missal from service – a PIA employee said that there were no disinfectant pro­cedures in the planes.

“As per rules, a disinfectant must be used in each plane after arrival. Howev­er, there is no disinfectant being used,” she said, adding that the gloves that they had been given were plastic-made and substandard.

“The facemasks we are using while on duty are also of very poor quality and get damaged within a few minutes after putting on,” she added.

She said that even if the flight oper­ations are not suspended, at least they should give the employees protective gear of good quality and also proper sanitizers and disinfectant in the planes.

Another employee feared that though just two have emerged among PIA em­ployees now, the number of the victims may increase from now onwards. “PIA must suspend operations for some time. Why they don’t care. Even I have given salary to my house maid and gave her leave for some days. After all, we are hu­mans and care about humans,” the em­ployee said.

PIA’s general manager-medical Naeem Yaqoob confirmed that two of their em­ployees have been hospitalised and put under observation. However, he de­nied that employees were being given substandard masks and gloves. He also said that disinfectant was being used in planes on arrivals.

“The coronavirus cases emerged in in­ternational flights, our domestic flights have not reported such a case so far,” he added.