Even after Bangladesh reported its first coronavirus cases, the seaport and airport in Chattogram are yet to get thermal scanners as part of preventive measures to stop further spread of the virus.
Thermal scanners are used to detect people with a high temperature that could be caused by coronavirus but they cannot detect people with coronavirus who do not have a high temperature. People who have been infected but are still in their incubation phase – which can be between two and 14 days – are often missed.
Shah Amanat International Airport’s lone thermal scanner, installed in 2015, went out of order seven months ago but on the other hand Chattogram Seaport does not have any scanner.
Airport sources said five doctors have been taking temperatures of about 1,500 passengers daily with only five handheld thermometer guns. Passengers say the measures are insufficient to stop the spread of the virus from entering the country.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the government is fully ready to tackle the situation. “Medical teams have been deployed at airports and land ports. Those coming from abroad are undergoing tests. The government is alert about the situation,” he said in an interview with UNB.
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Two Bangladeshis, who recently returned from Italy, were tested positive for COVID-19. The third infected person had come in contact with one of the returnees.
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Mahmud Akhter, acting manager of Chattogram airport, said there has been no direct flight from China but they are monitoring Chinese flights arriving here via Thailand, Singapore and Japan.
“An isolation unit has been opened at the port and the number of doctors was increased,” he added.
Dr AZA Sharif, health officer at the airport, said he personally collected five thermometer guns and that five physicians have been sent to the airport temporarily.
Meanwhile, a source at the country’s largest seaport said it has no thermal scanner. The port authorities have been observing people in ships in 14-day quarantine at sea before permitting them to enter the port.
Death toll from coronavirus outbreak, which was first reported in China last year, climbed to 3,830 on Monday. According to information of Worldometer, it has infected 110,071 people globally but a major portion of the infected recovered.
Source: United News of Bangladesh