The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday directed seven airports – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kochi – to make arrangements to screen passengers arriving from China, where a viral outbreak has killed four people, PTI reported.
The coronavirus is part of same family as the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and the Middle East respiratory syndrome, and has reportedly spread to 20 Chinese cities, and South Korea, Japan and Thailand. The city of Wuhan in Hubei province is the epicentre of the outbreak.
The Indian government said it would install thermal cameras at the pre-immigration area of these airports, and instruct airport staff to assist passengers. The ministry also asked airlines flying in from China, including Hong Kong, to request passengers who have travelled to Wuhan in the past 14 days, and are showing symptoms of the disease, to come forward at the port of arrival so that they can be quarantined at the earliest.
The Ministry of Health had earlier issued an advisory to Indians travelling to China, especially to Wuhan.
“For other travellers [those without any symptoms], who have visited the affected city and do not have any symptoms on arrival, but develop symptoms within 28 days of arrival in India, should visit nearest hospital facility and report to the state/district health authorities and concerned airport health officer,” the civil aviation ministry added.
The number of infections in China has risen sharply. Till Tuesday, there were 291 reported cases. Of those, 270 cases were from Hubei province, and 21 cases were recorded in six other cities – Beijing, Shanghai and four in Guangdong province. There have been almost 80 new confirmed cases, with more than 900 people still under medical observation, said the National Health Commission.