BENGALURU: In the wake of isolation of a recovered Ebola patient in Delhi international airport, the State government on Wednesday said strict screening measures are in place.
Health Minister U T Khader told Express, “We have taken all measures for screening. In fact, even using intelligence measures to check every passenger whether they are coming from the Ebola affected regions or visited West Africa. But these measures are not enough. Till date, the Centre has only sent guidelines for screening measures, but nothing on treatment or training protocol. Now in the event of any case coming up, how will we address this issue or who will treat the patients as medical staff will be in the danger zone of contracting this disease”.
“Each state should have an Ebola Treatment Squad just as we have the Bomb Squad. Medical personnel should be trained as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and the Centre should have taken these measures by now. However, from our end, we are making every possible effort and the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Chest Diseases has been prepared to house Ebola patients, if any.”
Steps Taken at BIAL
Meanwhile, the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) is continuing its screening measures which are in place since August. BIAL PRO told Express, “All measures are in place for screening of all international passengers. Since, no flights originate to and fro to West Africa from Bengaluru, we get only secondary screening cases. The Airport Health Office (APHO) is presently manned by a doctor and three paramedical staff on shift 24/7.” Additionally, airport entry passes have been issued to district health officials for faster response to any Ebola case. BIAL is further equipped with two thermal scanners to screen all arriving international passengers. Since October 16, screening of international (arrival) passengers is being executed under the supervision of the APHO, he added.
In a joint initiative with the District Health officials, Devanahalli, the State government, APHO, and Airline Operators Committee (AOC), the airport authorities have facilitated an exclusive ambulance (GVK-EMRI 108) for transportation of quarantined passengers within 30 minutes of a call.
“Four dedicated screening counters have been provided to APHO. An Ebola helpdesk has been set up before immigration check at the airport for screening Ebola health cards. If a passenger has visited any of the affected countries in the last 21 days, they are directed to the APHO for checks. These precautionary measures should help control suspected cases from entering the city and generate secondary cases,” the PRO added.