• Sunday, Jan 29, 2023
  • Last Update : 09:24 am

Time to update our screening systems

  • Published at 01:59 pm April 27th, 2020
covid 19 testing blood sample
Representational photo: Bigstock

There is simply no alternative to strengthening screening procedures for travellers

The current coronavirus pandemic has made one thing clear: Life has changed, and there is no going back to business-as-usual. Screening systems and procedures at ports are one of the areas that may require drastic change, because there is no longer any room for error when it comes to the containment of infectious disease.

As we plan to gradually ease the lockdown, more and more people will be entering the country, and it is important to make sure all our efforts at containment are not undone by fresh batches of arrivals from infection-heavy regions. And as Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, line director of the Communicable Disease Control division of the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) has said, there is simply no alternative to strengthening screening procedures for travellers.

In the past few years, the system has not seen any updating. As such, it is high time for an overhaul. There is a need to screen people by not only having their temperatures taken, but by also conducting viral infection tests.

Having a proper quarantine space is also necessary, which right now we are lacking. Those found to be infected should be placed in institutional quarantine, because as we have seen in the early days of the current pandemic, home quarantine has not proven to be effective.

Sadly, many of these steps will make the entire process cumbersome and difficult, so it is of the utmost importance that all of these procedures are carried out respectfully, fairly, and with transparency, and that there is no ensuing harassment of the citizens on the pretext of disease containment. There is simply no alternative to strengthening screening procedures 

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