Countries all over the world have intensified efforts to stop the spread of the Wuhan virus. Passengers face screening measures at five airports in the United States and a host of transport hubs across Asia. European airports from London to Moscow have also stepped up checks and Nigeria, which has citizens working in China, said it would start checks at entry points. Below is the regional breakdown and the planned response:
Hong Kong: The city’s Airport Authority said flights from Wuhan would be cleaned by contractors, who would also disinfect the terminal where the passengers from Wuhan had disembarked. Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific said staff could wear protective face masks on flights to China.
Taiwan: Taipei has issued travel advisories and went to its second-highest alert level for those traveling to or from Wuhan.
South Korea: There were plans to disinfect planes flying from Wuhan and flight crews on Korean Air have been given hazardous-materials suits. Tway Air has delayed plans to launch a new route from Incheon to Wuhan, Yonhap News reported, citing a company official.
North Korea: The county has temporarily closed its borders to all foreign tourists as a precaution, according to travel agent Young Pioneer Tours. “Further details are yet to be confirmed by our travel partners in North Korea,” it said.
Singapore: Major hub Changi Airport has increased surveillance on passengers from China, and not only those coming from Wuhan. Budget airline Scoot was handing out a health advisory to all passengers. Disinfectants, hand sanitizers and surgical masks were being supplied on all China flights. WHO IS Scoot said it was disinfecting aircraft.
Japan: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the country was stepping up quarantine and testing, while Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said questionnaires would be given to passengers arriving from Wuhan, according to reports. He added that people should inform authorities if they are feeling ill on arrival.
Thailand: Officials have introduced mandatory thermal scans of passengers arriving at airports in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Krabi from high-risk areas in China.
India: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharak International Airport has increased its surveillance measures. Delhi Airport staff were checking passengers flying in from affected areas, it said in a statement.
Australia: One of the last flights out of the epidemic-hit Chinese city of Wuhan was met by biosecurity officials as it landed in Australia on Thursday. Mask-wearing passengers said they were questioned by health officials, who briefed them on the symptoms of the coronavirus and handed out leaflets explaining how to respond if they noticed symptoms of the contagious disease.
Indonesia: The government has asked airports and airlines to take precautionary measures and to screen international passengers with thermal scanners. Airlines must provide health documents and a manifest after landing, Director General of Civil Aviation Polana Pramesti said in a statement.
Vietnam: Thermal scanners to measure body temperatures are being used to screen passengers at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, according to a statement on the government website, which said monitoring will be increased during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Cambodia: Chinese make up the largest number of tourists to Cambodia and authorities there have stepped up checks at Phnom Penh International Airport and at Siem Reap International Airport. Large numbers of Chinese fly into Siem Reap to visit the temples around Angkor Wat.
UK: Medical teams will be to London’s Heathrow airport to meet passengers from Wuhan and look for signs of the virus, the Department for Health said. There are concerns over the three flights a week operated by China Southern Airlines. The risk to Britons was raised to “low” from “very low.”
Italy: The Health Ministry said teams are in place at Rome Fiumicino airport, which has direct flights to Wuhan, to check the last arriving from China. Surveillance of passengers is being strengthened with body temperature checks at the airport, it said.
Nigeria: The country’s center for disease control advised travelers from Wuhan to report to a medical facility if they feel ill and said surveillance had been increased at all points of entry.
South Africa: The National Institute for Communicable Diseases recommended testing anyone who had visited Wuhan.
US: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had implemented screening arrivals at airports in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles on January 17 and has been expanding that to Atlanta and Chicago.
– With additional reporting by AFP