Friday, February 07, 2020

Kolkata airport starts tracking coronavirus victims’ co-flyers

Kolkata: Health officials at the airport are now trying to trace the co-passengers of the three confirmed victims of the virus in India who had travelled via Kolkata. The details of all the co-passengers will be handed over to the respective state government authorities.
The primary job of the health officials is to put passengers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand through thermal screening to detect symptoms of novel coronavirus (nCoV). The additional job was tasked upon Airport Health Organization (APHO) — that operates under the Union ministry of health — last week after it was found that all three confirmed patients affected by novel coronavirus had come to Kolkata, before taking a domestic flight to Kochi in Kerala. While the first two patients had taken China Eastern Airlines flight from Kunming to Kolkata on January 23, the other person — who was diagnosed three days ago — had landed in Kolkata by an IndiGo flight from Guangzhou on January 25.

“All the passengers on the flight as well as the crew members are susceptible to the infection now as the three patients were silent carriers of the disease and had developed symptoms only after reaching their homes. Our task is to track down all the flyers on the China-Kolkata and the Kolkata-Kochi flights and inform the Centre and the state governments concerned. It is the task of the state governments to get them quarantined and tested,” a senior official at the Kolkata airport said.

The official said that to complete the task, they were working with the airlines to find out the seat numbers of all the flyers to find out their approximate distance from the confirmed patients while travelling on the flight. They will also check the CCTV footage at the airport to find out the distance their co-passengers maintained at the queues for immigration check and thermal screening.

07/02/20 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India
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