China virus: Ports on alert, screening mandatory

Jamal Uddin
Published : 23:50, Jan 28, 2020 | Updated : 23:50, Jan 28, 2020

A medical worker in protective suit and police officers wait for drivers at a checkpoint in Yunxi county, Hunan province, near the border to Hubei province, on virtual lockdown after an outbreak of a new coronavirus, in China, January 28, 2020. REUTERSThe government has set up security gates and issued an alert at the land and sea-ports across the country amid the new coronavirus outbreak that originated in China’s Wuhan and seems to be spreading rapidly.
Doctors have also been appointed at the ports to screen anyone coming into Bangladesh. Security measures have already been set up at the airports.
The move comes after a meeting of the land port authority meeting on Tuesday (Jan 27).
Bangladesh Land Port Authority (BSBK) Finance and Adminstration member, Additional Secretary Md Alauddin Fakir told Bangla Tribune that arrangements have been made to install scanners at all the 14 land ports.
“Virus detection procedure has been set up at the ports that see most entries including Benapole,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has also ordered safety measures at the sea ports including Chattorgram and Mongla, the organisation’s Planning and Management Department member Delwar Hossain.
He said that they have three doctors of their own and will soon ask the health ministry for more.
Mongla Sea Port Public Relations officer and Deputy Secretary Makruzzaman said that all the passengers, especially foreigners were undergoing screening.
He added that a special room has been set up in Mongla General Hospital so that if the virus is detected in anyone they can be kept in quarantine.
The death toll from the fast-spreading coronavirus rose to 106 in China on Tuesday (Jan 28) with more than 4,500 infected.
The virus has already spread to more than 10 countries including the US, Japan and neighbouring India. The small number of cases confirmed outside China is linked to people who travelled from the country, but no deaths have been reported elsewhere.
The Chinese National Health Commission's chief said on Sunday the current outbreak was spreading "relatively fast" and "now entering a more severe and complicated period", reports Reuters.
Last Thursday, the World Health Organization called the outbreak an emergency for China, but stopped short of designating it a global emergency.
Coronavirus infections have a wide range of symptoms, including fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Severe cases can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death. Many of those who died had pre-existing medical conditions or were elderly, authorities have said.