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Brussels Airport is not preparing for coronavirus (yet)

The temperature of passengers can be measures, and quarantine areas can be installed quickly. Credit: Brussels Airport

Brussels Airport is not taking any measures to prevent the import of the coronavirus at the moment, as Brussels does not have direct flights going to the infected area.

Direct flights between China and Brussels land in Beijing, Shenzhen or Hong Kong. Those cities are over 1,000 kilometres from Wuhan, where the mysterious lung disease has broken out, making screenings on arrival in Brussels unnecessary for the moment.

“We are following the FPS Health’s guidelines in this respect,” said Nathalie Pierard, a spokesperson for Brussels Airport, reports RTBF. “If they become necessary, we can develop the procedure very quickly, as we did with other viruses such as the Ebola virus,” she added.

The temperature of passengers can be measures, and quarantine areas can be installed quickly.

“Those screenings yield little or nothing upon arrival anyway,” said Jan Eyckmans of the FPS Health, reports Bruzz. “The screening of departing passengers from China is very thorough, with thermal cameras measuring the passengers’ temperature. People who show symptoms are immediately picked from the queue,” he added.

“The victim in the U.S. only became ill after four days,” said Eyckmans, adding that the chance that the passenger will start showing symptoms between departure and arrival is very small.

Additionally, China has shut down all air traffic from the affected area, reducing the risk of contamination via Paris, London, Rome and other stops on the way to Asia. “For our country, the risk of contamination is rather limited, but we are monitoring the situation closely,” he added.

The Emergency Committee of the World Health Organisation (WHO) will meet again on Thursday to determine whether extra measures are needed, as the number of infections has risen to 620.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times