Guard tightened vs MERS-CoV
MANILA, Philippines—Air travelers entering the country through its premiere gateway will be thoroughly screened for the dreaded Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) through the combined efforts of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Department of Health (DOH).
The MIAA is the government agency that operates the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia). Its medical division, in coordination with the Bureau of Quarantine under the DOH, has implemented “operational procedures” at the international gateway to prevent the entry of the MERS-CoV virus.
Among the measures are the intensification of surveillance, use of thermal scanners, issuance of health checklists and alert notices to all arriving international passengers, and a mass information campaign about MERS-CoV.
The MIAA’s ambulance will be deployed, along with the bureau’s, to transport people suspected of having MERS-CoV to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City.
“All control measures are in place, personal protective equipment are available, and adequate medical personnel are positioned to ensure that airport stakeholders are safe and protected,” said MIAA public affairs chief Connie Bungag in a statement.
Bungag said that as part of infection control measures, only the DOH is authorized to release information about suspected MERS-CoV cases detected at the airport.
“Only the DOH has the sole authority to divulge information related to the illness, since data related to the subject are evolving every now and then,” Bungag said.
The Bureau of Quarantine, whose office is located near Naia Terminals 1 and 2, would be designated “a restricted area” as part of the measures, she added.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona earlier said that while the Philippines remained MERS-CoV-free, Filipinos, particularly those working in the Middle East where there are cases of the disease, must take precautions.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration last week called on employers and agents of Middle East-based overseas Filipino workers to give them free tests for MERS-CoV prior to their return to the Philippines.