7 MERS suspects found at Indonesian airport

PHOTO: 7 MERS suspects found at Indonesian airport

JAKARTA - The Soekarno­-Hatta International Airport announced that it had detected seven people suspected of having been infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS­CoV) since the beginning of the year.

The airport's health office has been regularly examining people returning from the umrah (minor pilgrimage) from January through May, as reported by tempo.co.

"We found seven people who were suspected of being infected since the beginning of 2014," head of the airport's quarantine department, Sri Purwati, said on Thursday.

The airport had obtained information about the MERS virus from several Middle Eastern countries and the Health Ministry at the beginning of last year.

"If a passenger arriving from the Middle East is suffering from a cough, flu-­like symptoms or has a fever above 38 degrees Celsius, we declare them as suspected [MERS] carriers," she said.

Sri added that anyone suspected of having been infected were then referred to the Sulianto Saroso Hospital for Infectious Diseases to be monitored for several days and treated as required. So far, all the suspected sufferers have tested negative.

Soekarno-­Hatta airport has also installed a thermo scanner in terminals 2D and 2E in order to monitor passengers arriving from Saudi Arabia. The thermo scanner immediately alerts staff if a passenger has a fever of over 38 degrees Celsius, according to tribunnews.com.