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22 Feb 2020 | 06:47 PM UTC

India: Coronavirus screenings extended at airports February 24 /update 4

Coronavirus (COVID-19) screenings extended to passengers arriving from Kathmandu, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia from February 24; Indian citizens advised to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore

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Event

The Indian government announced on Saturday, February 22, that it will extend passenger screenings for coronavirus (COVID-19) at airports across the country to travelers arriving from Kathmandu, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia from Monday, February 24. Heightened screening measures are already in place for passengers from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan. The government is also advising Indian citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore as a precaution.

Air India flights between Delhi-Shanghai and Delhi-Hong Kong remain suspended until Tuesday, June 30, due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The original suspension of these routes, announced on January 31, was set to end on February 14.

As of February 22, there have been three confirmed cases of coronavirus in India. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in 31 countries and territories worldwide. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is a "very grave threat."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Individuals traveling with Air India are advised to monitor the situation and confirm flight status prior to leaving for the airport.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.