The United States has joined a rising record of nations screening air travellers from China for a new virus linked to 2 deaths and dozens of infections, however Canada is up to now not taking the identical step.
Health Canada confirmed Friday that airports in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are rolling out new messages on arrival screens asking travellers from Wuhan — the central Chinese metropolis the place the sickness is believed to have began — to contact a border service agent if they’re experiencing flu-like signs.
If a traveller steps ahead and exhibits indicators of an infectious illness, they’re then screened by a specifically skilled quarantine officer who can establish whether or not or not the passenger’s situation presents a possible public well being danger.
Electronic kiosks on the three airports will even embrace a further well being screening query.
“Entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible importation of this new virus but is an important public health tool during periods of uncertainty and part of a multilayered government response strategy,” Health Canada stated in a press release, including that the general danger to Canadians remains to be thought of low.
In the United States, 100 staffers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been dispatched to a few airports: New York City’s John F. Kennedy International airport, Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport. An estimated 5,000 travellers from Wuhan are anticipated to be screened within the coming weeks.
Airports in Japan and Thailand are performing related screenings.
Canada doesn’t have any direct flights from Wuhan, whereas New York and San Francisco every obtain three flights per week from town in central China. Los Angeles additionally receives a lot of travellers from Wuhan by way of Beijing.
Whether or not airport screening can successfully stop the unfold of infectious diseases is up for debate. The final time the U.S. ordered airport screenings was in 2014 as a consequence of considerations in regards to the Ebola virus, and a passenger who was contaminated however didn’t present any signs handed via screenings.
Dr. Kamran Khan, a University of Toronto researcher who has studied airport screenings in the course of the SARS and Ebola outbreaks, stated airport screenings are far from foolproof.
“It’s not a particularly effective intervention, and it potentially offers a false sense of security,” Dr. Khan advised The Associated Press.
Concerns in regards to the sickness started earlier this month when a number of distributors from a fish market in Wuhan fell unwell with the then-unknown virus. More than 40 circumstances have since been confirmed in China, with two standalone circumstances in Japan and Thailand.
Chinese scientists have recognized the virus’s genetic sequence and shared it extensively, a step that the World Health Organization described as “of great importance.”
Symptoms of the coronavirus embrace fever, with a couple of circumstances involving issue respiration. Officials say the sickness is probably going unfold via contact with animals, however haven’t been in a position to rule out the potential for human-to-human contact as an element.
With information from The Associated Press