Doha: The Ministry of Public Health recently the start of procedures for the detection and examination of all travellers coming from China at Hamad International Airport (HIA) as part of its precautionary measures to detect the emerging Coronavirus.
The Ministry of Public Health, in cooperation with HIA and Qatar Airways, examines travellers from China through high-quality and efficient thermal cameras that can record the traveller’s body temperature remotely.
The National Pandemic Preparedness Committee at the Ministry of Public Health has approved the use of thermal examination at HIA to all travellers coming from China, while raising awareness among travellers about the symptoms of pneumonia, including high fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing.
Director of Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control at the Public Health Department and co-chair of the National Epidemic Preparation Committee, Dr. Hamad Al Rumaihi, said that the inspection procedures at the airport do not take more than 20 minutes for all passengers on one plane without causing the disruption of work or delaying the passengers.
In remarks after the start of applying the passenger screening procedure Friday morning, Al Rumaihi said that about 2,000 travellers from China on board of six 6 flights were examined through three thermal inspection sites inside the airport, pointing out that all the cases that were detected were negative and no positive case was detected.
He pointed out that 10 thermal cameras were installed in HIA under the supervision of a team of doctors and nurses at the Ministry of Public Health and the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
He added that a medical clinic was set up inside the airport to deal with any case of suspected injury where a doctor from the emergency department, a nurse and representatives of the ambulance service is available, indicating that in the event of confirmation of an injury in any case with ensuring that it applies the standard definition of the injury, which includes a rise in temperature with the presence of pneumonia, the patient will be transferred to the hospital.
Al Rumaihi explained that in addition to the examination procedures that take place at HIA, there are awareness campaigns inside the aircraft coming from China before arriving in Doha that include focusing on symptoms of the disease, which are high temperatures, coughing and difficulty breathing, with an emphasis on everyone suffering from these symptoms by going to the flight crew and informing them of the matter, or by going to the clinic in HIA immediately upon arrival and making them aware of the need to monitor the appearance of any of these symptoms for 14 days from reaching Qatar, which is the period during which the emerging virus can appear.
Regarding the possibility of applying the new procedures to travellers coming from other countries, Dr. Al Rumaihi explained that all cases that have appeared in all countries of the world are coming from China, which is the main country where the disease started, and that in the event of this disease spread to other countries, it will be applied to travelers coming from these countries as well.
Chair of the Ministry of Public Health’s Healthcare Communications Committee and Chief Communications Officer at HMC, Ali Al Khater, said that the cases that are suspected after passing through thermal cameras are transferred immediately to the medical examination and then to the hospital to determine the extent of infection with the virus or not.