A report in the the Mint news paper is highlighting precautions being taken at Indian airports to address the threat of new virus that is spreading across the middle-east and gulf regions.
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been reported primarily from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, two areas where there is a significant Indian diaspora, and through whose airports many an India passenger passes through. Emirates airlines carries over 12% of its global traffic from India through Dubai.
The report states
The potentially deadly MERS-CoV virus causes a lung infection, with patients suffering coughing, breathing difficulties and fever. MERS-CoV differs from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus in that it also can cause rapid kidney failure.
Most MERS-CoV infections have been found in Saudi Arabia, but cases have also been recorded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and the US, which confirmed a second case of MERS-CoV on Tuesday in Florida, according to Bloomberg.
Out of the 538 cases that have been reported since 2012, 330 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 59 deaths, were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) since 27 March, indicating a sharp increase, especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This increase is attributed mainly to hospital-related outbreaks.
What is concerning is that while some private Indian airports like Mumbai and Bangalore have geared up and have issued masks and hand sanitisers to airport staff, immigration staff, etc., and are referring potentially ill passengers to the airport health officer, there is a deathly silence from the government, and by extension government run (read AAI operated) airports like Chennai and Kolkata.
One has to wonder why.
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