China orders nationwide measures to detect virus on flights, trains, buses

Deadly coronavirus has so far caused 41 deaths, with number of cases jumping to 1,300

Passengers wearing protective face masks enter the departure hall of a high speed train station in Hong Kong. Photo: PTI

China has ordered nationwide measures to identify and immediately isolate suspected cases of a deadly virus on trains, aeroplanes and buses, as the death toll and number of patients has skyrocketed.

Inspection stations will be set up and passengers with suspected pneumonia must be “immediately transported” to a medical centre, the National Health Commission said in a statement.

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The isolation of suspected cases must be followed by disinfection of the train, plane or bus.

The statement said “all departments of transportation” must “strictly” introduce prevention and control measures including screening measures in airports, railway stations, bus stations and ports. The measures apply across all transportation routes as well as at customs and border inspections. Staff serving passengers must all wear masks, the NHC said.

The travel authority must also provide details about those in close contact with the suspected infection case, such as those sitting in the same carriage. The order applies across all provinces and regions. All areas should formulate “emergency response plans” to the outbreak including training medical staff.

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The announcement came as the death toll jumped to 41 and the number of cases reached almost 1,300.

In Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, the Chinese army deployed 450 medical specialists to overwhelmed hospitals.

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