MoH: No need for thermal scanners yet at entry points

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THE use of thermal scanners at entry points to detect travellers with suspected Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) as a form of prevention is not necessary yet, said the minister of health yesterday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the press conference on Brunei’s first Micra leadless pacemakers held at Gleneagles Cardiac Centre (GJPMC), Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof said as for now, the Ministry of Health (MoH) continues to be vigilant and has been working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) country members on the latest updates on MERS-CoV.

The health minister said while installing thermal scanners at every entry point including the international airport and border posts is not necessary. Visitors coming into the sultanate are advised to take safety measures.

“Installing scanners at entry points at the moment is not that necessary. What is important is that we advise visitors coming into Brunei, especially from the Middle East region, to take safety precautions in accordance to the WHO guidelines,” said the minister.

Meanwhile, visitors flying in are required to fill in a form upon arrival where they may state whether or not they have flu-like symptoms.

“Every passenger coming in must fill out a form. If they show symptoms like fever, they may go to the hospital or health centres where they will be screened through the ministry’s testing system,” the minister said.

He added that upon any abnormal findings during the consultation and if a need arises for urgent investigations, including blood tests, urgent test results can be ready within 24 hours.

Asked whether Bruneians are restricted from travelling, the health minister said WHO has not recommended any restrictions on travel to the affected countries, however, the ministry is reminding the general public to take care of their personal hygiene as well as their surroundings while remaining vigilant in taking preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection.

Symptoms for MERS-CoV can resemble ordinary flu or cold such as having fever exceeding 30 degrees Celsius or higher, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.

MERS-CoV infection is also more serious in those groups categorised as “high risk”, including the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with chronic conditions such as chronic lung conditions, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer or those with lowered immune responses (immunodeficiency), the ministry said.

The Brunei Times