BD airports screen visitors from China for deadly coronavirus

- A Monitor Report 21 Jan, 2020 | 1748 Views|-+
Dhaka: The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has sent a letter to the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh urging them to take necessary measures to avoid the possible spread of Chinese coronavirus, Meerjady Sabrina Flora, Director of IEDCR said on January 20.

The measures to prevent a possible risk related to the virus include screening travellers from China by using thermal scanner to detect fever, according to Flora.

The disease wing of the government has also trained health workers at the airports in Bangladesh for detecting patients with symptoms of the coronavirus infection, which include fever, coughing and difficulty with breathing, she further mentioned.

The travellers coming to Bangladesh from China will be given health cards and asked to contact the IEDCR if they have fever within 14 days from arrival, AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan, Director, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, said.

If any traveller is found with temperature higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, he or she will be kept in an observation room at the airport, according to Ahsan. The traveller will be shifted to the Kurmitola General Hospital if necessary, he said.

The airport authorities were also displaying symptoms of coronavirus infection on digital boards to raise awareness, Ahsan added.

IEDCR has also warned the three airlines operating direct flights from China to Bangladesh. Those ferrying passengers from China via other countries have also been contacted, Flora added.

China confirmed 217 new cases of the virus until 6pm local time on January 20. They included 198 in Wuhan, from where the virus has spread to other cities, including the capital Beijing and Shanghai. Four patients have also been detected outside China after travelling from the country.

The virus belongs to the same family of coronaviruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which killed nearly 800 people globally during a 2002-03 outbreak that had also emerged in China.

The World Health Organisation said on January 20 "an animal source" appeared most likely to be the primary source of the outbreak and that some "limited human-to-human transmission" occurred between close contacts.

WHO later convened an emergency committee for January 22 to assess whether the outbreak constitutes an international health emergency and what measures should be taken to manage it. However, so far, the global health body has not recommended trade or travel restrictions.

Authorities around the world, including in the United States, Australia and many Asian countries, have stepped up screening of travellers from Wuhan, the central city where the virus was first discovered.

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