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Coronavirus outbreak: Govt opts to screen all passengers coming from abroad

  • Published at 03:51 pm February 8th, 2020
Coronavirus_port_UNB
A medical officer is using a thermal detector to check the body temperature of a passenger at Benapole Land Port. The screen of the port’s only thermal scanner went out of order UNB

IEDCR screened a total of 8,396 China returnees between February 7 and January 21, and none of the returnees had any symptoms of the novel coronavirus

The government has taken measures to combat the novel coronavirus (nCoV). Passengers arriving from any part of the globe will be screened before entering the country.   

Director of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, disclosed this at a press briefing on Friday. 

IEDCR Director said: “Till date the infection has spread to 25 different countries in the world. So to be on the safe side, we will screen all inbound passengers at all the international entry ports of the country, regardless of their nationalities. ” 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in China, Singapore, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, United States of America, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, The United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates. 

However, www.pharmaceutical-technology.com said the number of countries was 26 as they included Taiwan in their list. Taiwan is not a member state of WHO, according to its website. 

Contacted, Meerjady Sabrina Flora told Dhaka Tribune that they had planned to screen all passengers from the time the government decided to bring back students from the city of Wuhan in Hubei, China. 

 “We have taken measures of screening all inbound passengers and we are extra careful with passengers coming from countries that have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus,” she added. 

“In this regard a letter was sent to concerned authorities including different airlines on Wednesday, and full fledged implementation started from today (Saturday),” the IEDCR director said.

IEDCR screened a total of 8,396 China returnees between February 7 and January 21, and none of the returnees had any symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

“We have so far received 1,227 calls till February 7. Of the total number of calls, 900 were regarding the novel coronavirus,” Meerjady said, adding that 47 people have received services regarding suspicion of having the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, as part of strengthening the screening process, The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) sent 35 more handheld infrared thermometers to screen all inbound travellers to halt the spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus in the country.

“At least 35 more handheld infrared thermometers have already been sent to cover all land ports for screening travellers,” Dr Ayesha Akter, assistant director of the DGHS Health Emergency Operation Centre and Control Room, told Dhaka Tribune on Saturday.

Contacted, IEDCR director Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora said: “The health team at Mongla Port (responsible for checking the novel coronavirus) lacked necessary equipment, interrupting the screening procedure. The handheld infrared thermometers have now already been sent to Mongla Port.” 

When asked about a Bangladeshi student who was taken under observation at an isolated ward established at Rangpur Medical College Hospital, Dr Meerjady said they were aware of the fact. 

“Although the boy has been kept in an isolation ward, the symptoms he has do not match with the nCov virus. Although, samples have been collected for further testing to ensure whether the boy is infected by the virus,” she added.

According to a local media outlet of Rangpur, the youth from Nilphamary was taken to the hospital on Saturday. 

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