Chiang Mai Airport on High Alert For MERS Virus

 | Mon 22 Jun 2015 03:53 ICT

CityNews – Following the first confirmed case of a passenger flying from the Middle East testing positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Thailand, Chiang Mai International Airport has begun strictly examining passengers traveling from South Korea, where an outbreak began in May 2015.


Image: Wikimedia Commons

Any passenger traveling to Chiang Mai from South Korea will be monitored by officials from the Chiang Mai International Airport Quarantine Office. Anyone found with a high fever of 38 degrees Celsius and up, will be temporarily confined and sent to Nakornping Hospital to be examined.

According to Weeraphong Pongchanta, the chief of Chiang Mai International Airport Quarantine Office (Health Control), if a person is suspected to be suffering from MERS, officials from immigration and customs will facilitate in ensuring the passengers belongings will be kept with them at all times and will aid in transportation to the hospital.

A list of all other passengers on the flight will also be given to officials in order to determine if the MERS virus has spread.

Tourists traveling to Chiang Mai from other countries will also be checked at random.

Weeraphong added that often passengers do not wish to cooperate with officials, which can prove to delay the process even more. People are advised to be cooperative with officials, as the checks are to ensure public safety and to prevent a MERS epidemic in the country.

Dr Surasing Wisarurat, the deputy head of Chiang Mai Public Health Office, told CityNews that Chiang Mai is at high risk to find the MERS virus due to the vast number of travellers to and from South Korea.

At the time of writing, over 4,000 people in South Korea have been placed in isolation, 30 people have died from the virus and over 2000 schools and universities have closed to prevent the spread of the MERS virus.