SEPANG: With the Covid-19 outbreak getting more intense, local airlines are strictly screening passengers boarding their aircraft.
An AirAsia spokesman said the airline had enforced temperature checks for passengers travelling to all destinations in China, effective Jan 31.
“The checks are conducted at the check-in counters and at the boarding gates from all departure airports.
“Passengers with a temperature exceeding 37.3ºC will not be accepted on the flight and recovery options will be offered for their flight booking, ” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said AirAsia undertook rigorous aircraft disinfection procedures and its planes are equipped with an air filtration system similar to those used at the operating theatres of hospitals.
“AirAsia assures that the safety and well-being of our guests and its staff members are our top priority, ” the spokesman said, adding that the airline was complying with advice and regulations from the authorities, including the World Health Organisation.
A Malaysia Airlines (MAS) spokesman said the airline conducted temperature screening using non-contact thermometers on all passengers travelling to mainland China, as well as for passengers out of Incheon, South Korea.
“Passengers with body temperatures of 37.4ºC and above, which is considered slightly above normal, are required to take a five minute rest before a re-check is done, ” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said if the temperature remained at 37.4ºC and above, passengers will be asked if they have travelled to affected countries, or if they experienced coughing or shortness of breath.
“If they have travelled to the affected countries and are experiencing coughing and shortness of breath, they will be referred to the Health Ministry for assessment and further investigation will be carried out if they are suspected to have been infected, ” the spokesman said.
The spokesman added that Malaysian health authorities will conduct temperature checks on all passengers from affected countries upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
“Passengers will be given a Health Alert Card which must be kept for the next 14 days, ” the spokesman said.
Normal body temperature is between 36.5ºC and 37.5ºC. A person with anything above this is considered to have a fever.
A mild fever is below 38ºC, whereas a high fever is above that mark.
A Health Ministry official stationed at the KLIA health office said in order to strengthen screening, thermal scanner stations were recently set up at arrival bays for passengers flying in from affected countries – China, Japan, Italy, Iran and South Korea.
Such passengers will also be made to go through a round of thermal scanners before the Immigration counters or before their flight transfers, she added.
“The passengers will be screened, and if they have a fever, they will be pulled out and sent to the examination room.
“The officials will check their body temperatures by clinical thermometer and check for any symptoms of Covid-19 such as fever, cough and shortness of breath.
“The officials will also ask them about their travel history and whether they have travelled to the five affected countries, ” she said.
If passengers meet the case definition for Covid-19 upon physical examination, they would be sent to hospital immediately.
She said that if the passengers were not fit for admission, they would have their samples taken and be instructed to do home surveillance for 14 days.
In order for the thermal scanner reading to be reliable, the scanners are recalibrated three times a day.
“As of now, the Health Ministry conducts body temperature checks for those entering the country but not those leaving the country, ” she added.
She said medical personnel from all over Selangor have been deployed for the screening tasks.