Temperature checks for Mers start at Changi

Temperature screening for travellers arriving at Changi Airport Terminal 3 from Doha yesterday. This is a pre-emptive measure to help detect those who might have caught Mers.
PHOTO: Temperature checks for Mers start at Changi

SINGAPORE - Travellers on six flights from the Middle East had their temperatures screened yesterday at Changi Airport, as Singapore steps up precaution against the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers).

The Straits Times understands that more than 1,200 passengers, who arrived from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, walked past thermal scanners located at the aerobridge.

The flights they were on belonged to three carriers: Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. The first landed yesterday at nearly 2pm, and the last touched down after 10pm.

The Straits Times understands that as of press time, no one was taken aside for further checks.

Yesterday marked the start of Singapore's temperature screening for air travellers from Mers-affected Middle East countries, including worst-hit Saudi Arabia, which had 168 Mers deaths as of Saturday.

Changi Airport receives some 50,000 travellers from the Middle East every month.

Announced on Thursday by the Health Ministry, the screening is a pre-emptive measure to help detect travellers who might have caught Mers.

No cases have been found here yet. Since the start of this year, there have been 48 suspected Mers cases here, but all tested negative.

Doctors at Changi Airport will recheck the temperatures of travellers from the Mers-affected countries if they feel feverish. If Mers is suspected, they will be taken to either Tan Tock Seng Hospital or KK Women's and Children's Hospital for more tests.

MOH will also follow up with daily phone calls to affected passengers to check on their condition. If it worsens, they will be asked to see a doctor.

Considered a deadlier but less transmissible cousin of the Sars virus, Mers was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

The virus, which has no cure so far, appears to cause a lung infection, with patients coughing and a high temperature and having difficulty breathing.

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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