January 23, 2020 / 10:21 AM / a month ago

UAE to screen passengers on China flights after virus outbreak

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates will screen passengers arriving on direct flights from China, airport’s there said on Thursday, as health authorities around the world scramble to prevent a global pandemic.

A new coronavirus that first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan has killed 17 and infected nearly 600, most in China but cases have been detected as far away as the United States.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese will travel at home and abroad during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday which begins on Saturday.

All passengers arriving at Dubai International on direct flights from China “must receive thermal screening at the gate upon arrival and be provided with information leaflets,” Dubai Airports said. Passengers will be checked in secured gates.

Dubai International is the world’s third busiest airport and a major international transit hub. It is the base of major airline Emirates.

Thousands of Chinese travellers are expected to pass through Dubai airport for the Lunar New Year weekend, the operator said.

Passengers arriving on flights from China at Abu Dhabi International, the base of carrier Etihad Airways, would also be screened, the airport tweeted. The airport urged passengers developing any illness symptoms against travelling.

The United States, Australia, Britain and several other countries have introduced screening measures at major airports.

China is putting Wuhan, a city of 11 million people considered the epicentre of the outbreak, on lockdown.

A flight from the city is scheduled to arrive in Dubai on Sunday, flight booking websites showed.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Alex Richardson and Janet Lawrence

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