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International Airport initiates screening for Coronavirus

Ahmed Aiham
22 January 2020, MVT 16:06
The government of Maldives has begun screening for the newly discovered Coronavirus which originated in China. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
22 January 2020, MVT 16:06

Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) began screening travellers for the new deadly Coronavirus upon entering the country at Velana International Airport on Wednesday.

"All measures are being taken to prevent and protect the health and well-being of the Maldivian public and the tourists", assured the Ministry.

Nevertheless, HPA maintained that no cases of the virus have been identified in the Maldives.

First detected in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, China, The virus reportedly causes pneumonia-like symptoms, some patients presenting with elevated body temperature and dry cough.

However, currently identified patients fall within a large spectrum of illness. As the disease progresses, most patients experience shortness of breath and respiratory distress.

Ministry of Health assured that authorities are currently taking the necessary preventive measures as per World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, to prevent the entry of this virus into Maldives.

According to WHO, pneumonia, which inflames the lungs and causes them to fill up with fluid, has been detected in some patient chest X-rays as well.

The novel coronavirus was first reported to WHO on December 31, 2019. Since then, a total of 142 cases have tested positive for the virus, with two deaths confirmed by Chinese authorities.

Most of the patients infected in the outbreak were present at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, believed to be the point of origin for the viral infection. The market, which sells fish and other animal meat, was shut down on January 1.

According to Chinese health experts, the virus does not appear to be highly contagious between humans. Thus far, no health officials or attendants have contracted the disease.

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