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Medical teams begin screening passengers

posted on 26/04/2003: 1492 views



Doctors at the Abu Dhabi International Airport were still waiting yesterday for the Ministry of Health to install thermal scanners to help them screen passengers for SARS. According to doctors and officials, they expect them to be installed at the airport by tomorrow. They were scheduled to be installed yesterday. Special anti-SARS teams, comprising doctors and nurses, have been deployed to support the medical staff at the airport clinic to screen travellers arriving from the Far East. Doctors are still using traditional methods to check temperatures of the passengers suspected of carrying the deadly virus.



In addition a special task force of about 25 doctors of the Preventive Medicine Department of the health ministry and a number of nurses have also been deployed. They take turns along with the clinic staff, including four doctors and eight nurses. The high alert of medical staff is ensuring that no traveller carrying the symptoms of SARS walks out of the airport undetected. Current procedures at Abu Dhabi airport require a doctor and a nurse to be present at the passenger exit points of flights arriving from SARS-affected countries.



They are also assigned to hand over special disembarkation cards to the passengers to fill specific details such as name, age, sex, arriving from, flight details and their contact in the UAE. The card also outlines the virus symptoms and preventive measures. Doctors also have the task of observing the patients, and anyone showing high temperature or breathing difficulties is isolated and taken to the clinic for a check up. The alert is for flights arriving from China, Taipei, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Every night between two and four flights arrive from the Far East.



But doctors are looking forward to the installation of these scanners to help them detect passengers with high temperature without slowing down the arrivals. As soon as it becomes operational it will provide an exceptional support to the doctors who are screening travellers by observing and questioning them. As heat scanners are discreet, panic among passengers can be avoided which also helps screen more travellers in less time. (The Gulf News)

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