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Thermal scanners at all airports to prevent Ebola outbreak, Centre tells Bombay high court

Thursday, 4 September 2014 - 6:25am IST | Agency: dna

The central government on Wednesday informed the Bombay high court that safety measures had been taken at all airports to prevent an outbreak of the dreaded Ebola disease in India.

Counsel Rui Rodrigues stated that thermal scanners had been installed at all international airports, and screening was mandatory for all passengers. These scanners can accurately detect any variation in body temperature. More than 15,000 passengers coming from Ebola-hit African countries have already been screened.

Rodrigues also informed the court that four teams of medical and para-medical staff have been deployed at Mumbai's international airport. These teams have been provided all the necessary safety equipment to be worn while checking and screening passengers. Moreover, in case a passenger reaches the immigration counter without being screened, he/she is sent back to the medical counter to be checked and then given a clearance certificate.

Separate quarantine facilities have been set up at airports and in nearby hospitals where a passenger suspected of having contracted Ebola can be admitted, said the counsel. A special ambulance is also at their disposal. "We (union government) are proud to say that India is the only country to install these thermal scanners and since the issue is of great public interest, we are aware of the situation and have taken all due steps."

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by former scribe Ketan Tirodkar. According to Tirodkar, India is not equipped to prevent the spread of the virus. His petition has sought a court directive to the union home ministry asking it to issue a notice to the city's international airport to prevent passengers arriving from West African countries from getting off the aircraft. He said that the US and some South Asian countries had banned such passengers from alighting on their soil, but India was lagging behind in this aspect.

The court has directed the union government to put on an affidavit the steps it has taken to prevent the Ebola virus from spreading in India and adjourned the hearing to Friday.

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