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Coronavirus: International airports step up screening protocols

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A health official holds a health alert card at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020
A health official holds a health alert card at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020   -  
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With the United States and Australia both reporting cases of the new coronavirus infection, airports around the world are doing what they can to screen passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, the centre of the growing epidemic.

In Malaysia, health officials are upping surveillance at international entry points, using thermal scanning machines to screen people as they disembark.

Malaysian Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye visited Kuala Lumpur International Airport to inspect the thermal scanners:

"We continue to keep on alert because there's a risk of human to human transmission and it's obvious that it's no more restricted to Wuhan but has transmitted to other parts of China and also other parts of the world,"

People exhibiting signs of fever will be examined and possibly quarantined.

Fears of a bigger outbreak

Other Asian nations, including the Philippines and Bangladesh have also put new airport screening measures in place as fears of a bigger outbreak rise across the continent.

To date, the new strain of coronavirus has claimed 17 lives and infected hundreds of others.

Major US airports are also screening passengers arriving from Wuhan, with staff from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention taking temperatures and questioning people landing in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City. Chicago and Atlanta are expected to be added to the list.

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