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Cyprus adopts airport screenings for coronavirus

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People arriving from China will be screened at the airports as the island says it is ready to handle any coronavirus incidents if the virus spreads to Cyprus, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said.

Elisavet Constantinou, director of Health and Medical Services, said authorities are coordinating and collaborating on how to handle passengers who arrive from China or other affected areas.

These passengers will be screened and examined by nurses at the airports.

Installation of thermal cameras has not been considered at this point, but this possibility will be examined at a later stage.

Constantinou said that if a coronavirus case is detected, a specific protocol will be followed at the ports.

Speaking after Monday’s cabinet meeting, Ioannou said the Ministry activated a task force of the Infectious Disease Control Unit to monitor developments around the virus.

He said Cyprus is following the instructions of the World Health Organization and activated the protocols that are appropriate for the handling this kind of outbreak.

All health professionals were given instructions on which course of action to take, in case they are suspicious about an incident or if they are dealing with a confirmed case.

Health officials at local ports and airports, in cooperation with the Migration Department and Foreign Ministry, will provide passengers coming from China to Cyprus, through other airports, a specific questionnaire.

If there is a suspicious case, then the relevant protocols will be activated, the Minister said.

Action has been coordinated to ensure state hospitals are prepared to handle a potential incident.

Travellers will be asked about the areas visited and the clinical signs if there are any, and those without symptoms must monitor themselves for 14 days.

If they do manifest symptoms, they must contact a designated location.

Authorities in China have imposed indefinite travel restrictions on tens of millions of people across 11 cities in an unprecedented effort to contain the spread, as hospitals at the epicentre of the outbreak struggle to handle a surge in new patients.
The virus, which was first discovered in the city of Wuhan in December, has spread to every province in China, except the remote autonomous regions of Qinghai and Tibet.