Increased Health Screenings in Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa

Several countries and territories have implemented enhanced health screenings for passengers from China as of 23rd January, 2020 according to WorldAware*.

The precaution follows an increase in reported cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (denoted 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization) in several eastern Chinese cities, as well as confirmed cases in Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. Beijing has also confirmed person to person transmission of the virus.

Several countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa region have also increased cautionary measures, including Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

List of locations affected:

  • Hong Kong SAR
  • Japan
  • Macau SAR / Zhuhai
  • North Korea
  • Vietnam
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Sydney
  • Bengaluru (Bangalore), Karnataka State
  • Delhi
  • Mumbai, Maharashtra State
  • Kolkata, West Bengal State
  • Chennai, Tamil Nadu State
  • Hyderabad
  • Chiang Mai
  • Phuket
  • Hat Yai
  • Kochi (Cochin), Kerala State
  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Kuwait
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Saudi Arabia

The increased health screenings vary across the region but could mean that passengers from China will experience longer immigration wait times and possible quarantine as the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak is occurring ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, when tens of millions of Chinese passengers travel throughout the region.

As of Jan. 23, authorities have implemented the following measures:

Australia: Border Force and New South Wales Health officials will monitor passengers on direct flights from Wuhan to Sydney Airport (SYD) and ask them to self-report if they are experiencing symptoms. Health officials will follow up with patients that are displaying symptoms on arrival.

Hong Kong: The government will require health declaration forms for passengers on direct flights from Wuhan and will fine travelers up to HKD 5,000 (USD 643) for false declarations. Authorities could take passengers experiencing symptoms to hospitals for further examination. Thermal scanners are already in use at major transport hubs in the territory and some border checkpoints with mainland China.

India: Authorities are screening passengers from mainland China at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM), Chennai International Airport (MAA), Kempegowda International Airport (BLR), Cochin International Airport (COK), Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU), and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD). Airlines will require travelers to complete a health declaration before arrival. Officials have set up thermal scanners at health screening checkpoints in the affected airports before immigration; however, authorities are primarily targeting travelers with symptoms or previous travel to Wuhan.

Indonesia: Officials have deployed thermal scanners at all 135 entry points to the country and will target passengers from China and other countries with reported 2019 novel coronavirus activity. Authorities will conduct interviews with travelers with temperatures above 38 C (100 F). All airlines must provide health declarations and passenger manifests for flights departing from or connecting through China to the health ministry.

Japan: Passengers from Wuhan will need to complete a health declaration and report any symptoms or potential exposure to officials upon arrival.

Macau: Authorities are requiring a health declaration form upon arrival and have implemented thermal scanners at all points of entry into Macau. Officials have also deployed temperature screening equipment to all casino entrances in the territory

Malaysia: Officials are using thermal scanners at ports of entry, including Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL), for passengers from China; however, officials are likely to scrutinize passengers on flights from Wuhan most closely.

North Korea: Pyongyang has banned tourists travel to the country as of Jan. 22; however, it is unclear if the measure will affect diplomatic and foreign employees. Pyongyang has placed such travelers in quarantine during previous outbreaks before allowing them to enter the country, even if they did not exhibit any symptoms.

Philippines: Authorities are using thermal scanners at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) to monitor passengers from China. Officials at other international airports and ports are reportedly conducting manual temperature checks. Passengers may have to go through extra quarantine checks if they have a fever or are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

Singapore: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) has expanded thermal scanning to arriving passengers from China, especially Wuhan. Officials will take any passengers experiencing symptoms, and with previous recent travel to Wuhan, to the hospital; officials could refer passengers with a high temperature to hospitals for assessment.

South Korea: Officials are increasing health screenings for passengers from Wuhan and other affected areas in China, including Beijing and Shanghai, at points of entry nationwide. Measures are likely most intense at airports in the country, notably Incheon International Airport (ICN).

Thailand: Airports in Thailand are increasing screening for passengers from southeast China at all international airports in the country, including Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), Phuket International Airport (HKT), and Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX). Officials have established health checkpoints for passengers on direct flights from Wuhan; however, personnel will monitor all passengers on flights from Southeastern China with thermal scanners. Authorities will take travelers from high-risk areas of China with symptoms to hospitals for examination and quarantine.

Vietnam: Officials are increasing scrutiny of travelers at border checkpoints; passengers from Wuhan or with recent travel history to the city will face further health screenings. The measures are likely to be noticeable at Cam Ranh International Airport (CXR), Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), and Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN). Passengers with symptoms of the virus may face quarantine.
Additional countries could announce enhanced health screenings or expand their response in the coming days.

If traveling to regions in Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings, especially if traveling from China. You should also exercise basic health precautions, such as frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.

There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions. If experiencing symptoms associated with 2019 novel coronavirus, delay any travel and contact your local health professional.

*The information in this document is provided by WorldAware. While WorldAware constantly monitors the changing world situation and strives for accuracy and timeliness, this information is provided to you on an "as is" basis, and your use of this information is at your own risk.

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