Creating a vaccine is complex because of the virus' high mutation capacity. Credit: NIAID/Flickr.
For the moment, Liège Airport is the only Belgian airport to take preventive measures with regard to the Coronavirus, officials there said on Friday.
The airport, which specialises in freight, has not had any direct links with Wuhan, the central Chinese town where the virus first appeared in December, for many months now, although it is linked to about a dozen other Chinese airports. Its spokesperson, Christian Delcourt, said the contamination was not possible through the handling of packages, and the only risk would be through the import of live animals from China.
Liège Airport is in a state of alert and is monitoring the evolution of the situation. It is in close contact with the Public Health Department and the Scientific Institute of Public Health, Sciensano. “We’d already taken measures during the Ebola virus outbreak, so we’ve already managed this type of development,” Delcourt said.
“Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) has so far not declared an international public health emergency, there aren’t really any measures that have been taken for the Coronavirus, other than preventive ones,” he explained.
The regional health authority, Walloon Agency for Quality of Life has already drawn up the profile of a suspicious case: a person coming in from China or who travelled to China within 14 days before manifesting clinical signs, who has flu-like symptoms or signs of an acute respiratory infection, such as coughing, fever and joint pains, without any other identified cause, and who needs to be hospitalized.
In such cases, airport staff will be required to wear breathing masks and gloves, and to place a surgical mask on the patient, who will be taken by ambulance to the Montegnée emergency services.