Visitors from Middle East asked to declare health status at entry

By Lien Chau, Thanh Nien News

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All passengers who arrive in Vietnam on flights from the Middle East will have to fill out health declaration forms, starting on July 1, as part of a campaign to stem the spread of a global respiratory disease.
Tran Dac Phu, chief of the Ministry of Health’s General Department of Preventive Medicine, said Sunday that the new rule will apply to visitors from the nine countries affected by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), namely Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

An officer screens arrivals' body temperatures at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport. Photo: VNA
The arrivals will have to fill out the forms upon entering Vietnam through international airports in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.
Those who have symptoms like fever, cough or respiratory difficulties will be sent to a quarantine area to be examined by a physician.
First reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, MERS-CoV has sickened 701 people globally as of June 16 and caused at least 249 related deaths, the World Health Organization reported.
Some of those cases were reported in countries like Malaysia and the Philippines.
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 treatment are available for MERS-CoV patients.
Early this month, health authorities began screening arrivals' body temperatures at Tan Son Nhat airport for the disease.
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