In the backdrop of the threat posed by coronavirus, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has mandated the health screening of passengers coming from China at Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai airports.
MoCA has received an advisory from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding the threat of the coronavirus disease in China’s Wuhan, wherein health screening of passengers coming from China will be undertaken at pre-immigration counters installed with thermal cameras at the airports.
“In light of the same, all logistics support and arrangements are required to be made immediately with regard to screening of passengers arriving in India from China at the three identified airports — Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. A prototype announcement has to be made in the flights coming to India from China and prototype signage has to be displayed boldly at the strategic location of these three identified airports,” said the MoCA.
“Health screening at airports (Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai) — Screening of passengers to be undertaken for those coming from China. Therefore, you are requested to provide space at the pre-immigration area with logistics to install the thermal cameras,” it added.
Further, in order to facilitate early isolation, the airlines should make in-flight announcements requesting passengers, in case they develop Severe Acute Respiratory Infection, with a history of fever and cough and history of travel to Wuhan City in last 14 days to self declare at the port of arrival or to state health authorities.
The MoCA further stated that airlines should be emphasised to hand over the General Declaration and passenger manifest to APHO staff before disembarkation.
“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 coronavirus, public health authorities should be notified about the contacts using the Passenger Locator Form. Airlines staff should be directed to bring the passengers to the health counters before the immigration check,” it said.
“The cabin crew should follow the operational procedures recommended by International Air Transport Association (IATA) with regard to managing the suspected communicable disease onboard an aircraft,” said the statement.
Meanwhile, the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in Delhi has started screening passengers coming from China. Additional Health officers have been deployed at the airport for the same.
“In line with the directives given by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Airport Health Organisation has made arrangements for a counter at Delhi airport, which is manned by their staff to check the inbound passengers from the affected areas. Appropriate information signage has also been deployed,” a Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) spokesperson told ANI.
However, the health ministry is fully aware of the coronavirus outbreak and has issued a travel advisory for those who are visiting China.
“An infection with a novel coronavirus has been reported from China. As on January 11, 41 confirmed cases have been reported so far, of which one has died. China travel-related cases have been reported (one each) in Thailand and Japan. The clinical signs and symptoms are mainly fever with a few patients having difficulty in breathing.” read the ministry’s advisory.
The IGI airport in Delhi has five airlines to and from China, while the Mumbai airport has two, and Kolkata airport has two airlines operating to and from China.