Authorities at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital and Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram on Tuesday started screening passengers coming from China following the outbreak of a new coronavirus that has so far claimed four lives and affected many others in China.
The Dhaka airport authorities on Monday conducted a workshop for representatives from different airlines and others concerned over the virus attack and started screening passengers after 2pm, said Beni Madhab Biswas, deputy director of the airport.
He also said passengers, especially of three direct flights from China -- two of Chinese Airlines -- China Eastern and China Southern-- and one of US-Bangla Airlines – are being screened by physicians of Health Centre at the airport.
Contacted, Assistant Airport Health Officer of Dhaka airport Dr Md Zahirul Islam told UNB that the health centre of the airport started monitoring body temperature of passengers, especially those coming from China, from Tuesday afternoon.
“We usually scan the body temperature of arriving passengers through our two thermal scanners. Passengers with body temperature of least 100 degree Fahrenheit will automatically be detected by the scanners,” he said.
Following instruction from higher authorities, he said, they strengthened their vigilance after a flight of Malaysian Airlines landed at the airport from China via Kuala Lumpur around 2:15pm on Tuesday.
Airport Manager of Shah Amanat International Airport Wing Commander Sarwar-e-Zaman said no direct flight from China lands at the airport but passengers from China come to Chattogram through connecting flights from Middle East countries and India.
The passengers coming from China are going through screening at the airport, he said.
Meanwhile, the authorities of Osmani International Airport in Sylhet remained alert in this regard.
Manager of the airport Hafiz Uddin Ahmed said there is no direct flight from China. “If anyone comes from China, they’ve to make transit in Dhaka. However, we remain alert.”
Over 200 people since last month were infected with new coronavirus in China, while the epidemiologists are still uncertain of its nature and mode of transmission, according to an AP report.
Chinese health authorities confirmed late Monday that some cases had been transmitted person to person, a development that means the illness could spread faster and more widely, particularly at the start of the Lunar New Year travel rush.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday instructed government departments to promptly release information on the virus and deepen international cooperation.
Concerned about a global outbreak similar to SARS, which spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-2003, numerous nations have adopted screening measures for travelers arriving from China, especially those from the central city of Wuhan, where the outbreak is thought to have originated and which has accounted for the vast majority of the cases.