Amid fear of the breakout of a new SARS-like virus in China, the authorities of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka this morning began the screening process of passengers coming from the country.
Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan, director of the airport, confirmed it to The Daily Star.
Three flights operate on the China-Bangladesh route, one of US Bangla and two Chinese airlines -- China Eastern and China Southern, the director said.
“The screening began with passengers of a flight that arrived around 7:30 in the morning from China,” he added.
The other two flights are scheduled to arrive at 3:30pm and 11pm.
“We will conduct screening of those passengers as well,” AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan said.
The move comes following the breakout of a new SARS-like virus in China which has already claimed four lives.
If symptoms are found in passengers, then the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) would be notified. The IEDCR would then test the passengers further.
“We have briefed the physicians working at the airport for the detection of probable cases. They would work as per procedure,” Dr Alamgir Hossain, senior scientific officer at IEDCR, told The Daily Star.
The symptoms the airport authorities would look for are fever, cough, cold, breathing difficulties and sore throat.
The alert was issued after the civil aviation authorities met with the IEDCR representatives yesterday.
The new coronavirus strain has caused alarm because of its connection to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
Measures to screen passengers from China arriving via transit at Chattogram’s Shah Amanat International Airport started today in order to prevent breakout of a new SARS-like virus.
“Like Dhaka airport, we have also issued alert and began the screening process,” said Wing Commander Sarower-e-Zaman, manager of the Chattogram airport.
China does not have any direct flight to Chattogram, the manager said.
“However, if any passenger arrives to Chattogram via transit, they will go through the screening process,” he added.
If any of the symptoms is found in the passengers, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) will be informed.
“Then the IEDCR will examine the passenger further,” the wing commander said.