Cyprus will introduce selective screening of passengers travelling from China at the airports.
This was decided on Monday at a meeting held at Larnaca Airport on the procedures to be introduced at Cyprus’ airports to identify passengers coming from China as part of preventive measures against the coronavirus outbreak.
Elizabet Constantinou, head of the public health services at the Health Ministry, said the meeting had been requested by the ministry in order to coordinate all relevant travel-related services as regards the new virus.
“We have agreed with the procedure underwhich there will be selectve screening of travellers who travel to China or are coming from the specific country to Cyprus,” she said.
The procedure will start will authorities being briefed about members of the public who obtain visas to visit China or are returning from there. Travellers will then be examined by medical staff at the airports with specific instructions, she said.
For the time being, there has been no talk of thermal scanner, Constantinou said. “During this period there are a lot of viruses and also flu and the specific issue will be examined at a later stage,” she said.
Asked what would happen if a coronavirus case is detected, she said that a plan of action has been drawn up in line with the instructions of the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
“The issue is complicated however the State Health Services Organisation has been activated and we are in full coordination so that an incident can be dealt with,” she added.
Asked whether there will be medical staff at the airports, Constantinou said that the medical centres there have already been reinforced with medical and nursing staff.
There is a questionnaire regarding the travellers’ data, the areas visited and the clinical signs, if there are any, as well as intructions that those free of symptoms must monitor themselves for 14 days. If they do manifest symptoms they must contact a specific location.
As to ports, she said that there is another procedure and authorities are in contact with port masters to finalise it.
The ministry is in contact with WHO and other European countries and all instructions from the competent EU bodies are relayed to ensure Cyprus is in full compliance.
Should a traveller exhibit clinical symptoms of the coronary virus they will be examined by medical staff at the airpoirt, then by a doctor specialising in infectious diseases, they will wear a face mask and then be taken by ambulance to Nicosia Hospital for further treatment in the appropriate wards for infectious diseases.
Taking part in the meeting at the airport were officials from the Health and Foreign Ministries, airports operator Hermes Airports, representatives of airlines bringing tourists from China to Cyprus, State Health Services Organisation, immigration offices, police, the fire service, the ambulance service, civil defence and Larnaca Hospital among other.