DOH guards NAIA

Passengers of an international flight pass by thermal scanner as they arrive on Monday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Photo by Rene Dilan

NAIA Respond to Swine Flu Outbreak

Manila - Quarantine Bureau of the Department of Health (BOQ) has installed heat surveillance sensor devise and biosecurity measures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airports yesterday as the world pandemic caused by swine flu virus reached the shores of the United States according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a statement Monday, the Department of Health (DOH) clarified that “there are no reports yet of swine flu among humans in the Philippines in relation to the outbreak that originated from Mexico and other affected countries.”

"Although Manila has no flights to Mexico, it has a connecting flight from Los Angeles which necessitate screening of passengers for flu-like symptoms in an effort to contain the spread of the virus" said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. Particularly affected are those coming from the United States because it is a transit point from Mexico City and that cases of infections have already been reported in the U.S.

There are currently 11 thermal scanners in international airports and some local airports to identify arriving passengers with fever.

“Thermal scanning is 100-percent effective when it comes to the detection of passengers with fever,” said Dr. Edgardo Sabitsana, Director of the Bureau of Quarantine.“We have somehow perfected using the device since the time of SARS.”

Meanwhile, the swine flue virus outbreak already affected airline traffic to and from Mexico and the US after passengers were advised to defer or delay trips to Mexico City.

The World Health Organisation has warned that the virus has the potential to develop into a pandemic. Mexico's health minister Jose Angel Cordova has told journalists the number of deaths in Mexico has already risen to 108 from 81 and there are 1614 cases of swine flu reported in the country with about 400 of those people now in hospital.

There are also 20 confirmed cases in the USA and suspected cases in France, Spain, Israel, New Zealand and the UK.

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