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Viral pneumonia outbreak in China prompts airport checkpoints for Thai-bound passengers

Jack Burton

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A viral pneumonia outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan is causing concern across the region. At least 59 patients there have been placed under observation so far.

As a precaution, Airports of Thailand has set up checkpoints at four of Thailand’s airports to measure body temperature as passengers deplane and filter out suspected carriers before they reach immigration. It has also increased the frequency of cleaning of airplane bathrooms. Staff are told to report any suspected cases of pneumonia.

The Department of Disease Control told the AOT that Chinese authorities have ruled out the highly contagious SARS virus, Middle East Respitatory Synrome (MERS) and bird flu.

Thai airports are coordinating and requesting that flights from Wuhan land at airports where the checkpoints have been set up, namely Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket and Chiang Mai airports. Authorities are instructing people travelling from risky areas who experience symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or runny nose, to see a doctor or health official immediately due to the danger of complications and spreading the virus.

For more information, the public is urged to call the Department of Disease Control hotline on 1422. Passengers can inquire about flights and services 24 hours a day at the AOT call centre, 1722.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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