In view of the alerts issued by global health authorities following the confirmation of 9 deaths due to a Coronavirus outbreak, officials at the Cochin International Airport (CIAL) in Kerala have begun screening of passengers from China and Hong Kong.
While there are no direct flights to China or Hong Kong from CIAL, officials will be screening passengers arriving on flights from Malaysia and Singapore as well.
"Intimations have gone to airline cabin crew that they should find out if any of their passengers are coming from China and Hong Kong. If any such passengers are there they should be told to first report to the health desk in the airport. Only after they are cleared by a medical team should such passengers be allowed to proceed towards immigration," stated ACK Nair, director of CIAL following a detailed meeting on Tuesday, regarding the decision to screen all passengers visiting from China or Hong Kong.
The new Corona virus was first identified in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province.
Nine people have succumbed to the virus so far and another 400 remain under the close watch of medical personnel.
Coronavirus can infect both animals and humans. This virus may cause symptoms of a mild respiratory tract infection and manifest as a runny nose, cough, cold, sore throat, headache, fever and other symptoms of the common cold. Individuals who are prone to a more severe form of the infection are those with weakened immune systems, young children and the elderly.
The incubation period from the time of exposure to the onset of symptoms is around two weeks.
Earlier airports in Tamil Nadu had also announced that screening would be mandated for all passengers arriving from China and Hong Kong.
What is the coronavirus outbreak?
It all began on December 31, when a cluster of pneumonia cases from Wuhan were reported and found to have been due to an unknown cause. The initial investigations revealed that most of the affected individuals had come in close contact with animals and frequently visited a particular wholesale seafood market in the city.
The market has since been identified as the centre of the outbreak and has been closed since January 1.
(With IANS inputs)