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Phuket arrivals from Hong Kong already in face masks are scanned

Phuket Scanner Lights Up Flu Security Checks

Sunday, May 3, 2009
WITH THE first cases of swine flu (aka Mexican human flu) confirmed in Asia, checks are being made to prevent the spread of the virus to Phuket and Thailand.

Direct flights from Korea, Hong Kong and Australia are being targetted, with passengers from those destinations being checked by a heat scanner.

The Director-General of the Department of Communicable Diseases, Dr Somchai Jukkapan, flew from Bangkok yesterday to check how the process was being managed on Phuket.

Phuketwan also watched the ''thermo-scan'' process in action yesterday at Phuket International Airport.

Passengers on a flight from Hong Kong descended on an escalator into the path of the scanner. On a screen, split in two, the reality image came up in the bottom half, while the thermo outline of passengers occupied the top half.

The chief of the airport health office, Veerasit Raden,said eight flights a day and about 2000 passengers were being scrutinised.

Khun Veerasit demonstrated how the ''thermo'' aspect worked by carrying a cup of warm water in front of the scan.

That part of the image glowed bright red, and sounded an alarm. Rises in body temperature can signal the onset of flu.

Nurses in surgical masks and a doctor from Vachira Hospital were on duty yesterday, helping to monitor the scanner and handing out special ''Welcome to Thailand'' cards to passengers.

The passengers also have to fill in a questionnaire about their health, specifying addresses and contact telephone numbers.

It there is a flu alert, authorities should be able to contact all passengers from a particular flight.

Hong Kong and South Korea have both confirmed single cases of the flu but the outbreak epicentre remains in Mexico, where 16 deaths have been reported.

Although New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has been quoted as saying that surgical masks probably do not prevent the spread of swine flu, two passengers on yesterday's flight arrived in masks.

Other thermo scanners are in operation at major airports around Thailand.

The card being handed to incoming passengers reads: ''Welcome to Thailand. Please keep this card with you for 14 days. If you are ill during this period, kindly give this card to your doctor and tell him or her of your recent travel outside Thailand.

''You may have been exposed to infectious diseases before arriving in this country. Thus, information of possibility of exposure abroad will help your doctor to come up quickly at the disease diagnosis and prompt treatment.

''In addition, please ask your doctor to inform Public Health Authority or contact Call Center at 02 5903333 so that appropriate control measures may be taken.

''Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health.''

VIP arrivals made for a hectic day yesterday for airport GM Wing Commander Wicha Nurnlop, with Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Tueksuban Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon heading a party of 60 flying in from Bangkok.

The Bangkok group met with local officials at the airport, then 20 took a helicopter ride, then more than 100 met again at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia in Karon where Khun Suthep officially declared Phuket as the destination for the Asean Plus Six Summit in June.

Wing Commander Wicha is being promoted to Bangkok. His replacement arrives on May 12.

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Comments

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WHO has issued a statement that only TWELVE deaths have occurred due to this influenza.
http://www.smh.com.au/world/only-7-swine-flu-deaths-not-152-says-who-20090429-aml1.html
It seems to be a media induced panic, funny timing too, just as the torture memos are being released linking Bush and Rice to authorizing illegalities and committing war crimes.
btw washing you hands will not help stop the spread of respiratory virus, just don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Also ,surgical masks are designed to keep the wearer from spreading germs, not from breathing them in .

Posted by Kim E on May 3, 2009 12:01


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