Amid increasing coronavirus cases in China, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has extended the screening of passengers coming in from China to four more airports -- Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin -- in a bid to thwart the threat of 'novel coronavirus disease' (nCoV). So far the screening has been underway in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata airports. The precaution is being taken in view of the recent outbreak of pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus in Wuhan city in Hubei province of China.
The ministry's statement said that thermal screening of passengers would be undertaken at the airports. Provision of space at the pre-immigration area with logistics to install thermal cameras would be made at these airports and airlines staff would bring the passengers to the health counters before immigration check.
"In order to facilitate early isolation, in-flight announcements will 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," it said.
Airlines staff would have 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 would be displayed boldly at strategic locations of these seven identified airports.
The official statement also suggested the application of operational procedures recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with regard to managing suspected communicable disease onboard an aircraft.
All passengers and crew who are otherwise healthy should be allowed to continue their onward journey, it said, adding that if the ill passenger or crew member is confirmed as a probable case of Wuhan coronavirus, public health authorities should be notified about the contacts using the Passenger Locator Form.
Several countries globally have increased measures to thwart the spread of the new virus as the death toll in China rose to six and the number of detected cases surged to nearly 300.
What is coronavirus, symptoms
The coronavirus (CoV) is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus that has killed four people in China is a novel strain not seen before. Common symptoms of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) strain, which has infected more than 300 people since the outbreak in Wuhan in December, include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.