Travellers from China to Undergo Thermal Screening for Coronavirus at 7 Airports, Says Aviation Ministry

New Delhi: Air travellers arriving from China at seven airports will be subjected to thermal screening as a preventive measure following the recent outbreak of pneumonia caused by the 'Novel Coronavirus' in the Wuhan city of Hubei province.

These include airports in Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Cochin, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

"Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has directed for all logistics support and arrangements to be made immediately with regard to screening of passengers arriving in India from China including Hong Kong at the identified airports i.e. Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin apart from three airports at Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata identified earlier," said a statement from the ministry.

"This is in continuation to the advisory from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and National Centre for Disease Control, Directorate General of Health Services, under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India regarding threat of ‘Novel Corona Virus Disease (nCoV) in Wuhan, Hubei province of China," it added.

The action plan requires airlines (which are directly coming from any airport in China, including Hong Kong) to make in-flight announcements requesting passengers with history of fever and cough and history of travel to Wuhan in the last 14 days to self-declare at the port of arrival or to State Health Authorities in order to facilitate early isolation.

Airlines staff are required to guide passengers in filling up the self-reporting forms before disembarkation so that the filled-up format can be checked by APHO staff on arrival.

Thermal screening of passengers will be undertaken at the airports and space will be provided at the pre-immigration area with logistics to install thermal cameras.

"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.

The Airport Health Organisation (APHO) team in Mumbai has activated a health counter and thermal scanners at the pre-immigration area for arriving passengers, Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) said in a release.

"All passengers travelling from China to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), will have to undergo a thermal screening as a matter of precaution," MIAL said.

MIAL said it has now expanded its existing passenger safety measures in compliance with the latest directive given by the World Health Organization (WHO) in case if any traveller is detected with the symptom.

The concerned passenger will be immediately shifted to the isolation hospital earmarked for CSMIA on advice of the APHO team, the aerodrome operator said, adding it will share a daily report with the ministry on the scanning of passengers.

"As reported by the Chinese authorities, this is a new type of coronavirus and is different from all other human coronaviruses. The World Health Organization has reported symptoms such as fever, difficulty in breathing and chest radiographs showing bilateral lung infiltrates as the cause of the pneumonia," MIAL said in the release

In order to prudently reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while travelling in or from affected areas such as Wuhan City, certain measures need to be taken, including avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, frequent handwashing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment, among others, the release stated.

Also, travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquettes, MIAL said.

(With inputs from PTI)