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Jakarta Post

Airports ramp up health monitoring amid Chinese pneumonia outbreak 

  • Kharishar Kahfi
    Kharishar Kahfi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, January 20, 2020   /   08:04 pm
Airports ramp up health monitoring amid Chinese pneumonia outbreak  The interior of Terminal 3 of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten. (JP /Wendra Ajistyatama)

Airport authorities in Greater Jakarta will increase health monitoring of passengers on international flights from China and Hong Kong amid growing concern about a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, in eastern China.

According to a circular issued by the health office of Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, earlier this month, authorities will enforce a number of prevention and monitoring measures on passengers landing at the airport, as well as Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in East Jakarta.

All airlines serving direct or transit flights from China and Hong Kong were advised to immediately provide health documents in the form of general declarations, as well as passenger manifests to the officials in the health office.

“Passengers coming from countries with reported cases of pneumonia infection will be screened by thermal scanner as well as syndromic surveillance,” says the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post.

The office also recommended that all people working in the airport wear protective devices to reduce the chance of infection from people suspected of being infected by the disease.

“If you suffer from fever, cough or throat problems, contact medical personnel immediately,” the health office wrote in the circular.

The Indonesian Society of Respirology (PDPI) warned in a statement issued last Friday that people traveling to countries with outbreaks of the disease should wear masks at all times.

“After returning from places with outbreaks, immediately consult doctors if you experience a high fever or other symptoms of the infection. You should also tell the doctor of your recent travels to the outbreak sites,” the PDPI wrote in a statement.

Read also: Mystery China pneumonia outbreak likely caused by new human coronavirus

Since December last year, dozens of cases of pneumonia have been reported in Wuhan. The disease is associated with a previously unidentified coronavirus related to the deadly Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday that China had reported to the organization 139 new cases of coronavirus infection in Wuhan, Beijing and Shenzhen over the past two days. The increased number was said to be the result of “increased searching and testing for 2019-nCoV [2019-novel coronavirus] among people sick with respiratory illness”.

The WHO had recently confirmed the first infection case outside China, with a doctor in Bangkok confirming a Chinese traveler was diagnosed with pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.

According to the WHO, there are also other suspected cases in other cities around the region, such as Singapore and Seoul.

The outbreak has caused alarm because of the link with SARS, which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003.