Emiratis and expats have been advised to avoid travelling abroad, and airports have stepped up virus checks on newly arrived passengers in the United Arab Emirates.

Residents coming back to the nation may be tested for coronavirus at the airport, and if their travel history is particularly worrisome, they may even be placed in home quarantine for 14 days, according to the UAE Ministry of Health.

Checks will also be performed on tourists from a variety of different countries, particularly those that are considered high risk because they contain major outbreak areas.

Basic tests include passengers walking past thermal scanners that allow raised body temperature to be spotted by medical officials as this can be an indication of fever.

Handheld temperature scanners that can be placed on the forehead are being used by a number of airports and take just moments to work in the same way.

People who are found to have a high temperature may then be tested with a nasal swab, which will then be put into a solution, and passengers may have to wait until the results of the test come through.

Travellers who test positive will have to be monitored at a medical facility.

Dubai Health Authority senior official Dr Manal Al Taryam says that there is discrete thermal scanning of all passengers at the airport to make sure that everyone who enters the emirate is free of the virus.

A new case of coronavirus in the UAE was confirmed by the Ministry of Health on Thursday – a 17-year-old student who does not appear to have any symptoms is currently being treated.

There have been over 3,500 cases and 107 deaths in Iran, which has limited travel between its major cities, and there have been 3,000 infections in Italy, which has closed down schools and higher education establishments for at least a fortnight.

The most recent travel advice in the UAE came in advance of the announcement that schools are being shut down for a whole month at the weekend.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention is urging UAE citizens and residents to avoid overseas travel because of the presence of coronavirus in a number of countries.

Those who do go overseas will be faced with preventative measures when they come back to the UAE, including airport medical checks and possibly two weeks in quarantine, depending on the discretion of the relevant authorities.

On Wednesday, officials at Dubai Airport said that seven gates had been set aside for the exclusive handling of incoming flights and to screen passengers coming from four destinations designated as being “high risk”.

All passengers who arrive at Dubai World Central and Dubai International Airport from Italy, Beijing, Syria and Lebanon will be checked with thermal screening, according to the Airport Operations Control Centre’s vice president of operations Damian Ellacott.

The announcement was made on Thursday, and it is not yet clear if the number of countries on the list has since increased.

Anyone who is travelling to and from the UAE should consider taking out travel insurance to offer financial protection in the event of falling ill overseas.


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