Lalmonirhat civil surgeon said they will set up screening machineries if necessary
Bangladesh has put its key land port Benapole on high alert to identify coronavirus patients but its lone thermal scanner is dysfunctional.
Authorities at Burimari land port, on the other hand, lack any scanner and are only asking passengers if they had fever or flu, reports UNB.
Four medical teams are checking passengers for coronavirus symptoms at Benapole, Bangladesh’s largest land port, with a thermo detector since the thermal scanner’s screen has stopped working.
“We are checking passengers, truck drivers and their assistants following the government’s order,” said Dr Bichitra Mallick, medical officer of Benapole Check Post.
He said they have already screened 30,196 passengers since January 18. Among them 6,048 are from India and 206 from other countries. “We are yet to find anyone infected with coronavirus,” he said.
Between 8,000 and 10,000 people use the land port every day. About 12 percent of them are foreigners, according to a Benapole Land Port official.
On February 2, the health ministry ordered screening of all people coming to Bangladesh from India through Benapole land port for coronavirus.
In Lalmonirhat’s Burimari Land Port, members of four medical teams are questioning passengers about their health condition while they are entering Bangladesh.
“We have not installed any screening machines at Burimari and Changrabandha land ports as there is no possibility of any Chinese citizen entering the country through these ports,” said Lalmonirhat Civil Surgeon Dr Kashem Ali.
He said they will set up screening machineries if necessary.
Medical team members were seen asking passengers if they had cough or fever or if they visited China recently.
Burimari Land Port immigration police Sub-Inspector Khandakar Mahmud said more than 600 to 700 people cross the port regularly.
“We have sent letter to the Directorate General of Health Services but they are yet to take any step to set up thermal scanner at the port,” he said.
What’s the current situation?
The novel coronavirus, which originated from China’s Hubei province, has infected more than 31,400 people globally and claimed 636 lives till Friday, according to AP. Since the first cases were reported, the virus has spread to over two dozen countries.
Bangladesh brought back 316 of its nationals from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, on February 2 but none of them were infected.
On February 6, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said no Chinese national here and no Bangladesh national in China is infected with coronavirus. He also expressed displeasure for what he said “overreaction” from countries like the USA and Australia to the situation.
"Let the general people be alert but do not create panic. No panic, no rumour, and be rational," Ambassador Jiming told reporters at the Embassy adding that there is no need for “overreaction” to the situation.
On January 30, Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said the government is fully ready to combat the new virus.