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Cebu airport monitoring travelers to detect possible carriers of virus from China

/ 03:00 PM January 12, 2020

A thermal scanner is set at the Mactan Cebu International Airport to help detect the China virus. (DALE ISRAEL/INQUIRER VISAYAS PHOTO)

CEBU CITY — Measures are in place at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to monitor possible entry of carriers of the viral pneumonia from China.

The airport here in Cebu, the biggest outside of Manila, has numerous flights daily from several Chinese cities.

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According to MCIA spokesperson Mary Ann Dimabayao, the thermal scanners used during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak more than a decade ago will be utilized for the new virus strain.

The biggest influx of tourists in Cebu usually arrive in January for the Sinulog festivities on January 19.

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There are no formal notices from the national government on how to go about the viral pneumonia, said Dr. Joyce Gonzales of the Bureau of Quarantine in Central Visayas (BOQ-7) at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Aside from the installed thermal scanner, Gonzales said the Cebu airport is also equipped with a handheld thermal scanner.

Mounted at the International arrival area of the MCIA terminal 2, passengers with body temperature above 37 degrees will sound an alarm to quarantine personnel.

In a forum in Cebu City, Dr. Terence Anthony Bermejo, chief of the BOQ-7, said they are on heightened surveillance following the outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Bermejo said they are particularly monitoring the 12 daily incoming flights from Chinese cities.

If a passenger shows symptoms, he or she will be taken out of the line, explained Bermejo.

If there is a need to isolate the passenger, he or she will be brought to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), the facility especially designated for viral pneumonia.

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According to DOH-7 Regional Surveillance Unit chief Shelbay Blanco, a room at VSMMC previously used for SARS and H1N1 virus’ isolation will be utilized for those with viral pneumonia.

DOH-7 regional director Jaime Bernadas, on his part, said that there is no cause for alarm yet.

He advised people to just maintain healthy habits.

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TAGS: China, Health, Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA), pneumonia outbreak
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