As coronavirus infects 300, Delhi airport starts thermal screening of fliers from China

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A passenger undergoes body temperature check at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. (Photo: ANI)

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport has started thermal screening of passengers coming from China, reported news agency ANI.

The Civil Aviation Ministry had received an advisory from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, saying that health screening of passengers coming from China to Kolkata, Delhi, and Mumbai has to be undertaken at pre-immigration counters installed with thermal cameras.

Apart from India, countries like the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and North Korea have also increased checks on passengers from China.

Nearly 300 people have been infected by coronavirus in China so far, stoking fears about an international pandemic. On Tuesday, the death toll from the outbreak mounted to six as China's National Health Commission confirmed 291 cases, including those of 15 medical staff.

Apart from screening at airports, countries in Asia and elsewhere have begun body temperature checks at railway stations and along highways to prevent further spread of the disease. With World Health Organization (WHO) warning of more cases in other parts of China and even other countries in the coming days, fears have heightened as millions of Chinese travel during the annual Lunar New Year holiday.

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"More cases should be expected in other parts of China and possibly other countries in the coming days," said WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic. The recent update has also sent shivers through financial markets, as the WHO called a meeting on Wednesday to consider declaring an international health emergency.

So far, the virus has more or less been concentrated in Wuhan city, where it is assumed to have emerged from a seafood market. However, isolated cases have also been reported in Shanghai and Beijing. "China is willing to deepen its global cooperation and work with the international community to deal with the epidemic," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has told reporters at a regular daily briefing.

(With inputs from agencies)