Thermal scanner to be installed at Abu Dhabi airport to check SARS

ABU DHABI - An advanced thermal scanner, first of its kind in the UAE, will be installed at Abu Dhabi International Airport within two days to check if any arriving passenger is infected by the deadly Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, a senior health official said here yesterday.

By Nada S. Mussallam

Published: Tue 22 Apr 2003, 12:17 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 9:59 PM

The General Authority for Health Services (GHAS), Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health would instal the electronic scanner at the airport, Dr Mahmoud Fekri, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Central Preventive Medicine Department of the ministry, told Khaleej Times.

The move. Dr Fekri said, was part of a plan for precautionary measure, prepared by the health authorities to prevent the spread of the epidemic in the country.

The machine will effectively detect symptoms of the highly infectious pneumonia-like illness which spreads through direct or close contact with respiratory secretions.

As early cases have mostly been linked to travel to areas infected by the disease, the ministry has prepared a health alert form, in Arabic and English languages, to be filled by all passengers arriving form afflicted countries, including China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Philippine and Canada. The form would provide to the ministry personal data, address in the UAE and flight number of the passengers, Dr Fekri said.

"We have so far provided 30,000 copies of the alert form to international airports and civil aviation in the country. If a passenger is found to be infected by the virus, the form will help in following up the health status of other passengers, so as to stop the disease from spreading into the country," he said.

The ministry has also given instructions to aircraft crew to isolate any suspect case from the other passengers and report to the airport clinics as soon as the plane lands.

"We have also posted medical teams at the airports to check any passenger coming from countries with reported SARS cases and having symptoms similar to those of the disease and asked the airport authorities not to allow such people transiting the UAE to disembark."

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