Dubai to screen all passengers from China amid virus outbreak

China has locked down two major cities to fight the spread of the coronavirus that has already claimed 17 lives and spread to a number of other countries.
Thursday 23/01/2020
A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks in Central district in Hong Kong on January 23, 2020. (AFP)
A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks in Central district in Hong Kong on January 23, 2020. (AFP)

Dubai Airport, one of the world’s biggest aviation hubs, said Thursday it would carry out thermal screening of all passengers arriving from China amid an outbreak of a deadly virus.

“Dubai Airports confirms… that all passengers arriving on direct flights from the People’s Republic of China must receive thermal screening at the gate upon arrival,” a statement said.

China has locked down two major cities to fight the spread of the coronavirus that has already claimed 17 lives and spread to a number of other countries.

Dubai’s government said on Thursday that some 989,000 Chinese tourists visited the glitzy emirate last year and that the number was expected to cross the one-million mark in 2020. Some 3.6 million Chinese transited through the airport in 2019.

“The screening will be conducted on secured, closed gates at the airport by Dubai Health Authority and its Airport Medical Centre team,” the statement said.

Dubai International Airport in 2018 served 89.15 million passengers, retaining its world-number-one spot of welcoming the largest number of foreign passengers for the fifth year in a row.

There was no announcement as yet from authorities in the neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi which also has a large airport.

The coronavirus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

Like SARS, it can be passed among people through the respiratory tract.

(AFP)