NAIA tightens killer virus watch

January 22, 2020
Temperature check
A quarantine officer checks the temperature of a passenger from China at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Wednesday. AFP

MEDICAL experts at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on heightened alert against deadly virus yesterday subjected two Chinese arriving from Guangzhou, China to examination upon arrival on China Southern flight CZ3091 after thermal scanners showed they had 38 degrees Celsius body temperature.

Quarantine doctor on duty Geraline Yangson said they brought the Chinese travelers to the medical office at NAIA terminal 1 for a second examination using the portable ear thermometer after they were found with high fever.

The two Chinese were later allowed to leave the quarantine office after 37 degree Celsius was established.

As part of precautionary measures to contain the killer disease, the Bureau of Human Quarantine personnel at the NAIA intensified monitoring of every passenger arriving at the country’s main gateway amid the suspected novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

Yangson said they are strictly monitoring passengers coming from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Guangzhou, Shenzen, Beijing as well as Shanghai which are the possible connecting routes from Wuhan, China where a mysterious virus claimed its first victim.

Bureau of Immigration officers at NAIA terminals are now wearing surgical masks to protect them from the novel corona virus.

BI-Port Operation Division chief Grifton Medina said their personnel are waiting for the N95 musk coming from the main office and in the meantime had bought surgical masks to protect themselves.

Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) distributed hand sanitizer dispensers at the airport’s four terminals to help prevent the virus from spreading.

MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said that his office distributed hand sanitizer dispensers especially at the immigration arrival area where in-coming passengers and airport employees come in contact.

The mysterious SARS-like virus has spread around China — including Beijing  -- fueling fears of a major outbreak as millions begin travelling for the Lunar New Year in humanity’s biggest migration.

It was learned that the novel coronavirus strain was first discovered in the central city of Wuhan that caused alarm because of its connection to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.