Václav Havel Airport in Prague, Czech Republic, March 2019

Prague’s Václav Havel Airport will not tighten security checks over coronavirus fears

The Airport will not tighten security checks over fears of the new coronavirus spreading from China, according to the Czech Health Minister

Prague, Jan 26 (CTK) – The Václav Havel International Airport Prague will not tighten security checks over the new coronavirus, spreading from China, so far, Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) told reporters today.

There is no point in introducing a blanket screening of passengers as the illness’s incubation period is two weeks, However, the airport wants to apply targeted screening of passengers with symptoms of the infection, he added.

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Several people have been examined at the Prague airport, most recently two women today, but no virus suspicion has been confirmed in the country yet, Vojtech said.

The Czech Republic proceeds in harmony with the international organisations and the measures are sufficient, Vojtech said.

“The public health protection bodies are fully on alert,” the minister said.

He also said he would not consider it rational to ban flights from China as all surrounding airports admitted arrivals from China.

The awareness of air passengers who arrive in the Czech Republic must be increased. They should know what to do if they notice they have symptoms of the coronavirus infection, Vojtech noted.

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Information panels will be placed all over the Prague airport to be visible for all passengers. “They will be in Czech, Chinese and English and we are preparing them in other languages as well,” Vojtech said.

The infection symptoms are respiratory troubles, fever and cough.

The Prague airport is operating in its regular regime, its director Vaclav Rehor said. However, the airport has bought additional respirators and disinfectants, he added.

The airport employees have been informed about the situation and the management will send them e-mails, asking them to assist in the targeted screening of passengers, Rehor said.

If they took note of passengers with apparent infection symptoms, they would recommend them what to do. The airport has also secured the personnel to accompany passengers to the medical service if need be, Rehor added.

Two women who arrived in Prague from Qatar’s capital of Doha had the symptoms at the airport today. They were sent to the Prague-Bulovka hospital, where the coronavirus infection was not confirmed in their case, Rehor said.

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A blanket passenger temperature screening would have no sense also because of the current flu season as it would give many false positive samples, Chief Sanitary Officer Eva Gottvaldova said.

The coronavirus mortality is just around 2 percent and all infection cases are related to the Chinese Wuhan city so far, there are no reports about any secondary spread of the infection, World Health Organisation (WHO) Czech branch director Srdan Matic said.

The risk in all countries except for China is low, he stressed. The WHO stands by the decision not to restrict trade and travelling for the time being, he said.

In the case of an infection suspicion, the National Referential Laboratory would have the results within six hours of the patient’s sample delivery, said Barbora Mackova, from the State Health Institute.

“This is not a preventive test and will prove that the person is infected,” she said, adding that the verification by a Berlin lab would last for up to 48 hours.

Also read:  Czech Republic has 3,308 confirmed coronavirus cases, rise of 307 from Tuesday

The coronavirus infection has spread from China where it appeared in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei province, in mid-December for the first time. The Chinese authorities have registered 56 victims of the coronavirus and more than 2000 infected with it so far.

China announced today that the ability of the new coronavirus to spread was strengthening and infections could continue to rise.

Along with China, patients with the coronavirus have appeared in a dozen of Asian countries as well as in the USA, Canada and Australia. Out of the EU countries, France has reported three cases and a Chinese air hostess is tested on suspicion of the virus in the neighbouring Austria.

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