Chennai

Additional staff to be deployed at airports for COVID-19 screening

With the Centre deciding to screen passengers of all international flights for symptoms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the State Health Department is all set to depute additional manpower — both doctors and paramedical personnel — at airports in the State, particularly in Chennai.

So far, passengers from 12 COVID-19-affected countries have been screened at the airports. The decision to screen all international flights in the wake of COVID-19 spreading to more countries has raised the need to depute sufficient number of doctors and nurses for the screening.

Directions given

“Earlier, we had deputed 10 members each to the airports in Chennai and Tiruchi. Now, we are all set to provide additional manpower at the airports. We are increasing the number of persons from today, and have sent out instructions to post the required number of doctors and nurses from Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu districts, on duty for airport screening,” K. Kolandaswamy, director of public health and preventive medicine, said.

It is already the public health teams that have been screening passengers at both the Coimbatore and Madurai airports, he added.

Public health officials said that passengers who have symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty in breathing are transferred to isolation wards of nearby government medical college hospitals using the 108 ambulance.

“Those who look ill or tired on arrival, having a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and above, are transferred to the nearby isolation facility. We collect samples — nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs and blood — only in a hospital setting, and send them for testing,” an official said.

Hospital quarantine

According to the bulletin issued by the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, 96,729 passengers were screened at the airports in Chennai, Tiruchi, Madurai and Coimbatore till now.

Of this, 1,292 persons were under home quarantine for 28 days and five under hospital quarantine.

Testing of nasal, throat swabs and blood samples of three persons are under process at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine. Till now, 51 persons have tested negative for COVID-19 in the State.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 6:08:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/additional-staff-to-be-deployed-at-airports-for-covid-19-screening/article30985519.ece

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