In an effort to prevent the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)’s from spreading to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City authorities have established a system for screening the body temperatures of new arrivals to Tan Son Nhat Airport.
First reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, the disease has sickened 636 people, 193 of whom died, globally.
Some of those cases were reported in the neighboring countries of Malaysia and the Philippines, according to the World Health Organization’s latest update on May 28.
Nguyen Van Sau, director of HCMC Center for International Epidemic Control, told Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon on Tuesday that everyone who enters Vietnam through the country’s largest airport will have to undergo the screening, especially those who come from the Middle East and MERS-hit countries.
People who are found to have higher than normal temperatures and symptoms of respiratory diseases will be quarantined at the airport for further checks-ups; those confirmed to be sick will be sent to local hospitals for treatment, he said.
So far no suspicious cases have been reported at Tan Son Nhat, the official said.
MERS falls into the same group of viruses as the common cold, and causes symptoms like cough, fever and shortness of breath. However, it is highly fatal – 30 percent of MERS patients have died, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No vaccines or special treatments are available for MERS.
Dr. Nguyen Huu Hung, vice director of the HCMC Department of Health, was quoted as saying that his agency has also asked the authorities at sea ports to tighten their disease detection protocols.
In the meantime, the city’s Center for Preventive Health drafted a plan to raise public awareness about MERS, the newspaper reported.
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