Measures in place at MCIA vs entry of possible carriers of viral pneumonia

An airport personnel in seen in photo monitoring passengers through thermal scanners installed at arrival area. (Photo courtesy NBC News)

MANILA, Philippines — Measures are accordingly in place at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in Cebu City as government health workers are keeping a watchful eye monitoring the possible entry of carriers of the viral pneumonia from China.

Cebu’s MCIA airport is the biggest outside of Manila. It has numerous flights daily from several Chinese cities.

MCIA spokesperson Mary Ann Dimabayao said “the thermal scanners used during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak more than a decade ago will be utilized for the new virus strain.”

On record, it says that the biggest influx of tourists in Cebu usually arrive in January for the Sinulog festivities on January 19.

However, Dr. Joyce Gonzales of the Bureau of Quarantine in Central Visayas (BOQ-7) at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport said there are no formal notices from the national government on how to go about the viral pneumonia.

Handheld thermal scanners are also being employed aside from the installed thermal scanner at MCIA Gonzales said.

The installed thermal scanners are mounted at the International arrival area of the MCIA terminal 2 that automatically detects passengers with body temperature above 37 degrees and will sound an alarm to quarantine personnel.

Meanwhile, the inquirer. Net also reported that in a forum in Cebu City, Dr. Terence Anthony Bermejo, chief of the BOQ-7, said they are on heightened surveillance following the outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Bermejo said they are particularly monitoring the 12 daily incoming flights from Chinese cities.

If a passenger shows symptoms, he or she will be taken out of the line, explained Bermejo.

If there is a need to isolate the passenger, he or she will be brought to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), the facility especially designated for viral pneumonia.

According to DOH-7 Regional Surveillance Unit chief Shelbay Blanco, a room at VSMMC previously used for SARS and H1N1 virus’ isolation will be utilized for those with viral pneumonia.

DOH-7 regional director Jaime Bernadas, on his part, said that there is no cause for alarm yet. (JGo/

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