Thursday, May 14, 2009

Screening at Egypt Airports - Advisory from Danish Embassy

Thanks "S" for forwarding this info.

Dear Colleague

I obtained the following information from a variety of sources, Ministry of Health, all UK Honorary Consul's (apart from Alexandria) and the MFA and would be grateful if you could pass to all EU colleagues. Their input and experiences would be useful if they have any additional information they can share with us all.

The Ministry of Health are still confirming no reported cases in Egypt of the H1N1 virus

Airport Screening:- Currently in place at Cairo, Hurghada, Luxor, Sharm El Sheikh and Taba airports

Full medical screening is aimed specifically at those fliights arriving in Egypt from countries that have confirmed/suspected cases of the virus. As well as this, passenger passports are checked on all international flights coming in and those passengers with Mexican stamps in their passports are subject to this screening.

The screening process and the make up of the medical teams should be identical for each airport. These consist of at least 5 doctors, 2 nurses and one medical technician per team.

All passengers arriving are processed by currently having a temperature check by use of a thermometer in the ear to gauge the temperature. Disposable tips for the thermometers are not being effectively employed. The same tip being used for a number of passengers then changed. The Ministry of Health were reluctant to confirm that this was the case and said that there was one tip for each passenger tested - however, on the ground evidence from tour operators in Sharm contradict this statement, the same tips being used on multiple passengers.

However, it is important to note that at Luxor airport for instance - full screening is not being carried out and thermometers are not being used. They have doctors present for international arrivals but their intervention is negligible. Sharm also reports that some of the flights checked appear to be on a random basis. Therefore the medical screening is not consistent and seems to differ from airport to airport despite the guidelines detailed by the Ministry of Health.

To date, no thermal imagers/scanners have been installed at any of the airports.

The benchmark temperature is 38 degrees - anyone showing a temperature above this, is taken to an isolation room at the airport and from there they are transported to the nearest isolation facility where swabs are taken. For airports outside Cairo - all swabs are flown to Cairo for testing. The isolation centre for each airport is as follows:

Cairo: Al-Matar Mental Health Hospital located in the Heliopolis district of Cairo which is the closest medical facilty to Cairo International airport.

Sharm El Sheikh: Sharm International Hospital - a number of rooms at this facility have been set aside as an isolation area

Luxor: Luxor International Hospital - the nearest large hospital with adequate facilities to the airport

Hurghada: Hurghada International Hospital
Alexandria: Not known at this time

Taba: Taba Hospital

Period of quarantine is unknown and each case (if they do confirm one) will be dealt with in line with WHO guidelines on treatment.

I can confirm that the major UK tour companies flying into Egypt are advising clients of medical screening procedures at airports via their websites. They are also advising passengers of this before leaving the UK and on the aircraft whilst enroute.

It may be a good idea if colleagues from countries who do have suspected/confirmed cases perhaps advise their tour operators to do the same.


Jim Warren

1 comment:

Cairo Typ0 said...

OMG! This and your other article today have me stunned.

Thank you for sharing this information!

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