The Jakarta Post
After the airport authorities in Greater Jakarta began ramping up the health monitoring of incoming passengers, other airports across the archipelago are following suit amid concerns about a pneumonia-like outbreak in China and some other countries.
Authorities of Sultan Thaha Airport in Jambi stated on Tuesday that they would increase their health monitoring as the airport expected to see more passengers arriving ahead of the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations on Saturday.
The airport's general manager, Muhammad Hendra, said his office had coordinated with the airport health office to anticipate the possibility of pneumonia transmission by passengers.
“Sultan Thaha Airport is only a domestic airport. However, passengers [from outside the country] can come here after transiting in Cengkareng [Soekarno-Hatta International Airport] or Kuala Namu [in Medan, North Sumatra],” Hendra said, adding that the passengers would not be alerted to or unsettled by the health monitoring.
The increased monitoring was launched as the airport authorities noted that several travel bureaus had sold a travel package from Wuhan in eastern China to Jambi. Since December last year, dozens of cases of the pneumonia-like coronavirus have been reported in Wuhan.
I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport authorities in Denpasar, Bali had installed thermal scanners on two of the airport’s international arrival gates to anticipate any coronavirus transmission that was suspected to be the cause of the pneumonia.
“The scanners have been installed since Jan. 4 and their activation followed the recent updates on the global epidemic,” said Putu Alit Sudarma, an official of the Denpasar Port health office, on Saturday, as quoted by Antara news agency.
He added that the office had also intensified health monitoring in seaports across the island. “However, there are not yet any ships coming to China that landed in Bali this month.”
The Health Ministry has issued a travel advisory for Indonesians who wish to travel to countries affected by the Wuhan coronavirus and handed out health alert cards to passengers arriving from China and other affected countries.
Authorities also said that all 135 entry points into the country had been equipped with thermal scanners that could identify a person’s body temperature remotely through cameras.
As of Monday, Reuters reported that the total number of known cases worldwide was more than 200, with most cases — 198 — reported in Wuhan, which recorded three deaths. South Korea had also reported its first confirmed case on Monday.
Scientists believe that the recent pneumonia outbreak is likely caused by a new virus belonging to the same family of coronaviruses that causes the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The syndrome killed nearly 800 people globally during an outbreak in 2002 and 2003 that also started in China. (kuk)