Arrivals from China's Wuhan scanned for pneumonia

Arrivals from China's Wuhan scanned for pneumonia

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, second right, inspects thermal screening procedures for travellers arriving from Wuhan at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Sunday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, second right, inspects thermal screening procedures for travellers arriving from Wuhan at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Sunday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Officials are running thermal scans on passengers arriving from the Chinese city of Wuhan at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket and Chiang Mai airports over fears a pneumonia outbreak could spread to Thailand.

Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, president of Airports of Thailand Plc, said on Sunday that thermal scanners were in use at the airports -- four out of the six operated by AoT -- because flights from Wuhan landed there. The measure came in response to a pneumonia outbreak in the southeastern Chinese city about 800km west of Shanghai.

There are three daily flights from Wuhan operated by China Southern Airlines arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport, two by Thai AirAsia at Don Mueang airport and two by Thai AirAsia at Phuket airport. In addition to these daily flights, three arrivals per week are operated by Air China at Chiang Mai airport.

China Southern Airlines will operate additional flights to Phuket from Jan 10 to Feb 3 to cater for the Chinese New Year festival.

The thermal screening is taking place before travellers reach immigration booths. Passengers with suspicious symptoms detected during their inbound fights and during the screenings after landing would be quarantined for medical examinations, he said.

AoT has also intensified general hygienic measures at its airports for proactive disease control, he said.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul inspected the screening measures at Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday. He said about 500 travellers arrived there from Wuhan every day, but health officials had yet to find anyone showing signs of pneumonia.

He assured the public that disease surveillance measures were being implemented efficiently. Visitors showing suspicious symptoms would immediately be taken to hospitals by ambulance and treated in isolated wards, Mr Anutin said.


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