Srinagar, Mar 7: Seemingly worried about the spread of coronavirus in the valley, Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to screen all the passengers at the Srinagar International Airport as a precautionary measure.

Earlier, only those passengers arriving from 12 high-risk countries— China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Nepal, and Indonesia —were to be screened at the airport.

“From now on, all flights and passengers will be part of universal screening, not just the 12 countries which we had been listed earlier,” said Dr. Manzoor Qadri, Epidemiologist Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme Kashmir.

The decision effectively means all passengers entering the valley, be it from different states or any foreign country, will be screened.“Passengers are only allowed to go home after filling a detailed self -reporting form that will help the government track them. The helpline numbers are also mentioned in the form in case they show up any symptoms. Additionally, their temperature is checked with the help of infrared thermometers,” he said.

Kashmir began the screening process on February 1 to closely monitor the persons traveling from the listed high-risk zones.
As many as 184 persons are in home quarantine. Although no positive cases of coronavirus have been reported in Kashmir, health officials said all hospitals should ensure their staff is trained, and well-prepared to deal with the virus.

The government has been issuing advisories to inform people of the precautionary measures and symptoms associated with coronavirus.

Additional trained staff has been placed for screenings at the Srinagar Airport and National Highway., Isolation center has been set up at Sanat Nagar for suspected patients.

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When the world fails to make sense, Hirra Azmat seeks solace in words. Both worlds, literary and the physical lend color to her journalism.

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