China / Society

Airports monitor flights to prevent MERS epidemic

By Xu Jingxi (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-03 07:39

Airports monitor flights to prevent MERS epidemic

People who came into close contact with the South Korean MERS patient arrive at Lady MacLehose Holiday Village in Sai Kung, where they will spend two weeks in quarantine, in Hong Kong, May 30, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

Airports in China have strengthened quarantine inspections on inbound passengers from countries that have confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome, which has infected 25 people and caused two deaths in South Korea.

Authorities at Beijing Capital International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport detailed on their websites on Tuesday the anti-epidemic measures they have adopted at the request of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

The Beijing airport will use infrared thermometers to monitor the temperatures of inbound passengers, and quarantine inspectors will look for those who have fevers, coughs or difficulty breathing.

Chinese tourists returning from South Korea and Middle East countries - including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq - should report to the quarantine authority if they have such symptoms, according to the entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau of Beijing.

Authorities are paying close attention to incoming passengers at Dalian International Airport in Liaoning province, where nearly half of the inbound flights are from South Korea.

Airlines are required to report whether there are passengers with fevers and provide passenger seating information on flights from South Korea.

In China, the number of people who had close contact with the first patient, a South Korean man in the country with MERS rose to 78 in Guangdong, the provincial Health and Family Planning Commission said on Tuesday. Sixty-nine of them have been quarantined. However, 9 passengers aboard a bus to Huizhou that the patient used have still not been contacted.

Provincial health authorities reported that the patient's condition had improved. The patient flew from South Korea to Hong Kong last week and entered Huizhou City via Shenzhen, and was put under observation in an isolation ward.

None of those quarantined have shown any sign of the disease. Additionally, the patient's condition improves, so doctors are cautiously optimistic about his recovery.

South Korea's top travel agency, Hana Tour, was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as saying that about 300 Chinese people dropped travel plans to the country amid growing fears over the spread of MERS. International Inc, China's largest Internet travel agency, said that it hasn't received cancellations for trips to South Korea.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Tourism Administration have not issued travel warnings for South Korea, said Ge Lei, marketing director of the China Youth Travel Service, adding that only a few customers have canceled their trips.

Xinhua contributed to this story.  

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