134 passengers from China scanned, cleared of Coronavirus at IIA

Published February 10, 2020
Passengers included 29 Chinese nationals. — AFP/File
Passengers included 29 Chinese nationals. — AFP/File

RAWALPINDI: An Air China flight carrying 134 passengers, including 29 Chinese nationals, arrived from Beijing on Sunday evening.

According to immigration authorities, flight CA945 landed at the Islamabad International Airport (IIA) at 6:45pm.

Among the passengers, 105 were Pakistanis. All the passengers were scanned by a medical team and none of them was found having fever or any other health issue.

Since the resumption of flights to and from China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan city on Feb 2, eight passengers returning from China were shifted to hospital with complaints of fever.

“All the passengers shifted to hospital with the complaint of fever have been cleared and allowed to go home,” said Airport Manager Adnan Khan on Sunday.

On Saturday, an Air China flight carrying 141 passengers landed at IIA. One of the passengers, a Pakistani national, was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) with the complaint of flu.

Of the 141 passengers, 129 were Pakistanis, 11 Chinese and one Canadian national.

The health authorities have made arrangements to scan passengers arriving from China at the IIA. If any symptom of fever or virus is detected, the patient is shifted to Pims or Benazir Bhutto Hospital Rawalpindi which have been declared focal hospitals.

On the other hand, the Punjab government has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the protection of doctors and paramedical staff of government hospitals who would look after any coronavirus suspected patient.

The passengers arriving from China had already been scanned before boarding the flights for Pakistan.

A senior official at the airport said all passengers arriving by other airlines were also being scanned to ensure that no one was affected with the virus.

On Saturday, following directives by senior joint secretary Aviation Division Abdul Sattar Khokhar, the airport authorities held a meeting to review the arrangements made by the health department to detect any virus affected patient.

The meeting was chaired by the airport manager and attended by Airport Security Force (ASF), immigration and health department officials.

The airport manager told Dawn that they had been facing an issue of long queues at the immigration and health counters and decided to increase the number of counters from two to four.

He said he had also requested the authorities concerned to further increase the number of immigration counters because whenever more than one or two international flights arrived it took a long time to clear each and every passenger.

The official said he had also sought an increase in the number of ASF personnel to maintain security.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2020

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