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Coronavirus: Thermal screening of flyers from China, Hong Kong at 7 airports | India News

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NEW DELHI: India has directed airlines operating direct flights from China and Hong Kong to start making in-flight announcements, asking passengers with history of fever and cough and history of travel to Wuhan City in last 14 days to self-declare at port of arrival, in wake of the flu epidemic there. Passengers on these flights will need to fill up a self-reporting forms before disembarkation, making these declarations. The aviation ministry (MoCA) has directed seven airports — Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Cochin, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata — to do thermal screening of these flyers in pre-immigration areas.

Airlines staff will bring passengers to these health counters before immigration check. 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 will be notified, according to a MoCA statement Tuesday.

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Delhi & Kolkata airport - Pic 1 (1)

The alert comes in time for the Chinese New Year on January 24 which is the most important holiday season and witnesses maximum vacation travel globally out of China. Locals get a mandatory seven-day holiday at the start of this spring festival. Several Chinese airlines and two Indian carriers — Air India and IndiGo — have direct flights between India and China. In the past few years, Chinese carriers have managed to woo travellers between India and the east — going right up to east cost of North America — with their low fares.

A spokesperson of IndiGo, which flies to China, said: “The area of virus is affecting around Wuhan which is a long way from our destinations in Guangzhou and Chengdu. We will continue to monitor the situation. At present, our flights are operating as normal.”

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MoCA, in accordance with health ministry’s advisory, made an action plan for airlines and airports for strict adherence. This plan includes: “In order to facilitate early isolation, In-flight announcements to be made by the airlines (which are directly coming from any airport in China including Hong Kong) requesting passengers with history of fever and cough and history of travel to Wuhan City in last 14 days to self-declare at port of arrival or to State Health Authorities,” said a statement issued by MoCA Tuesday.

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“Airlines staff to guide the passengers in filling up the self-reporting forms before disembarkation so that the filled up format can be checked by APHO staff on arrival. Airport signage to be displayed boldly at the strategic locations of these seven identified airports,” it says.

“Health Screening at Airports: 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. 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 says.

Times of India

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