Seven Indian airports to scan passengers coming from China

New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday directed seven airports across the country – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Cochin – to make arrangements for screening of passengers arriving from China in the wake of outbreak of an infection caused by a new strain of virus there.

The Ministry, through an advisory, ramped up measures to block the spread of mystery virus in the country as the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China climbed to six today.

Airlines flying in from any airport in China including Hong Kong have been asked to make in-flight announcements requesting passengers with a history of fever and cough and travel to Wuhan city in the past 14 days to self-declare at the port of arrival in order to facilitate early isolation, according to the advisory.

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This is in continuation of the travel advisory issued by the Union Health Ministry regarding the threat of novel coronavirus in Wuhan in Hubei province of China in which it had asked citizens to follow certain precautionary measures while visiting the country.

The advisory also urged airlines staff to guide the passengers in filling up the self-reporting forms before disembarking so that the filled up format can be checked by Airport Health Organisation (APHO) staff on arrival.

“Thermal Screening of passengers to be undertaken. Provision of space at the pre-immigration area with logistics to install the thermal cameras to be made at these airports. Airlines staff to bring the passengers to the health counters before the immigration check. Operational procedures recommended by International Air Transport Association (IATA) with regard to managing the suspected communicable disease on board an aircraft,” the advisory said.

“All passengers and crew, who are otherwise healthy, should be allowed to continue their onward journey. If the ill passenger or crew member is confirmed as a probable case of Wuhan Corona Virus, public health authorities should be notified about the contacts using the passenger locator form,” it added.

Airports have also been asked to display signages at strategic locations of the seven identified airports for screening.

The Wuhan virus causes a type of pneumonia and belongs to the same family of coronaviruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Symptoms include fever and difficulty in breathing, which are similar to many other respiratory diseases and poses complications for screening efforts.

The Wuhan virus causes a type of pneumonia and belongs to the same family of coronaviruses as SARS. Symptoms include fever and difficulty in breathing, which is similar to many other respiratory diseases and pose complications for screening efforts.

Almost 80 new cases have been confirmed, bringing the total number of people hit by the virus in China to 291, with the vast majority in Hubei, the province where Wuhan lies, and others in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, according to China’s National Health Commission, Al Jazeera reported.

Authorities around the globe, including in the United States and many Asian countries, have stepped up the screening of travellers from Wuhan.
The World Health Organisation, which is due to hold an emergency meeting on the outbreak on Wednesday, has said an animal source appeared most likely to be the primary origin of the Wuhan outbreak.

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