Swine flu can be ‘caught’ by looking
A day after screening of passengers coming from swine-flu-affected countries began in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, doctors are still depending on visible symptoms to check infected passengers.delhi Updated: May 01, 2009 00:09 IST
A day after screening of passengers coming from swine-flu-affected countries began in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, doctors are still depending on visible symptoms to check infected passengers.
Passengers can easily avoid being checked at the six special health counters set up at the airport. The counters were set up two days ago by airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) but eight doctors were deployed there by the Health Ministry on Wednesday night.
Passengers arriving at the airport are being given a four page undertaking form and health advisory. Only if passengers declare symptoms of the flu in the form, do doctors present at the airport give them a check up.
Apart from the medical team, immigration and CISF officials too have been given masks for their safety.
“The form asked if I had any cough or vibration in my breathing,” said Ahmed Qasim, a passenger. “It took me ten minutes to fill in the form,” he said.
According to highly placed sources at the airport there were three suspect cases of flu but swine flu was ruled out and no one had to be taken to the yellow fever hospital.
“Passengers who are infected with the flu cannot hide symptoms. As they are signing the form, they would be caught for giving false information,” said a senior health official.
A 36-bed quarantine centre has been created at the airport, with another 30 beds at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
“Announcements are being made regularly for passengers who may’ve visited US, Mexico, etc recently to report at the health desk,” said a DIAL spokesman.
The health ministry ruled out hermal scanners to screen passengers as this may distract doctors from physical examination.