Hyderabad: In the wake of the Corona virus outbreak, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Shamshabad, Hyderabad, will start screening passengers arriving from Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. In the circular released by the Central government on 23 February 23, all major airports in the country have been directed to screen passengers coming from these four countries.

Earlier, the aviation authorities had been asked to screen passengers from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Singapore. To prevent further spread of the deadly virus the screening has been expanded to these four countries.

The circular further said that screening will start “immediately once they (passengers) step out of the specific locations at all the airports”. The passengers will also have to fill a self-declaration form according to the instructions of the ministry of health and family welfare, the circular stated. The Central government has also directed all airlines to make in-flight announcements on flights coming from these countries to ensure “strict compliance”.

Speaking to NewsMeter, Dr. Anuradha Reddy, the airport health officer for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, said, “We have been taking several precautions at airports, like self-declaration forms and airline announcements. The thermal screenings will continue, including for the additional four countries Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.”

The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has been conducting universal screening for around 800 passengers daily.

On 21 February Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Union minister of health and family welfare, had said, “Screening of passengers is being done in all 21 airports, 12 major and 65 non-major seaports, and border crossings. Over 3,835 flights and 3,97,148 passengers have been screened so far. As of now, 2,707 samples have been tested of which only three had earlier tested positive (Kerala) and all the three patients have been discharged from the hospitals and are now at home in isolation.”

The deadly Corona virus has led to the death of at least 2,000 people in mainland China, with the country’s president Xi Jinping calling it the “country’s largest public health emergency”.

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