Authorities at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru took precautionary steps by starting thermal screening of passengers from Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
The precautionary step was taken over concerns of the deadly coronavirus (nCoV) infection affecting more than 200 people and claiming three lives in China. Thermal imaging scanners can potentially detect if a traveller has fever.
While Bengaluru has no direct flights to the affected cities in China, a help desk was set up at the international arrival section of the airport based on guidelines given by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Times of India reported.
On January 9, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus alled â€˜novel coronavirusâ€™ or â€˜2019-nCoVâ€™ in a person with pneumonia in Chinaâ€™s Wuhan city in Hubei Province. After this, the health body encouraged countries to "continue preparedness activities" to ensure that the disease does not spread. It causes respiratory problems and accordingly, countries have been told to increase surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and any unusual patterns of SARI or pneumonia cases.
In India, the Union Ministry issued a travel advisory asking citizens to take precautionary measures while travelling to China. According to the Ministry of External Affairs' (MEA) 2018 report, there are around 55,000 Indians residing in China. The Ministry had also advised screening of travellers from China at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Tamil Nadu airports using thermal scanners. Now, this has been extended to Bengaluru airport as well.
A 45-year-old Indian school teacher in the Chinese city of Shenzhen was suspected to have a SARI-like coronavirus disease however, it was confirmed that she was being treated for streptococcal infection.