Health checks at border control

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  MartynSinclair 21 Oct 2014
at 03:45

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  • Anonymous


    Not wishing to make light in any way – I find the contrast between the USA and UK quite …. remarkable.

    The USA make no bones about rushing an inbound aircraft, donned in full protective clothing when 5 passengers have flu like symptoms… At border control, officers appear to have face masks and gloves when checking passengers.

    In the UK, , according to Sky News, smart suits, no gloves and requesting passengers undergo voluntary checks.

    I am no medic, but surely the way forward is to go to the high risk countries and stop / check passengers before they want to travel….


    In the time honoured way we are probably too worried about peoples’ human rights to do anything mandatory.


    i just dont understand why they make such a big deal or indeed a total mess of this. Most airports in Asia have had temperature sensors for years screening everyone! I have been pulled out twice, once a major hangover) and held off a flight once with them (man flu)


    Will air crew on flights returning from West Africa also be checked for the virus?


    As one of those in the Multi disciplinary fields of Healthcare, it will do little as prominent Specialists have said.

    AF crews were refusing to fly to some of the afore mentioned cities some weeks ago. As far as we know, it cannot be transfer in an airborne state. But i am sure we have all seen someone sneeze on a flight, in close proximity, I cannot see that this does not transfer some fluid, that may be then on someone else or ingested somehow. Equally so later if someone were to be infected on a tube or train in London. What we gain in The West, is the access to medicine and generally better health, hygiene, and education than where the outbreaks are, in impoverished conditions.

    It has the potential to be something in a few months that could well be interfering with travel, and world economics, on a truly global scale, as the WHO have stated.

    But for now, as ever with travel and illness that can be experienced through travel, basic washing of hands with warm water and soap, use of Alcogel (which should always be part of your travel carry-on’s), would be wise as a basic, already.

    As mentioned, Temperature checks in Asia from a long range without consent have been pretty normal for a long time. And the use of the Masks that i see more Chinese and Japanese wearing for travel, are pretty useless, giving minor protection for maybe 20 minutes! Even theatre masks have to be changed often, so wearing a mask for a 11 hr flight means after 30 minutes it is pretty useless!


    Marcus, I often have a little chuckle when i see people wearing surgical masks in the street/plane etc. All it will do is stop some of the aforementioned droplets from sneezing, but then most take the masks off to sneeze or cough!

    i guess they are affective as a placebo though


    In my opinion, just like much of airport security, it’s nothing more than theatre


    @MarcusGB, @stevescoots

    My understanding is that the Japanese sport masks when they have a cold/flu/etc in order NOT to infect their fellow travellers/co-workers. Thus any “droplets” from sneezing, etc are contained within the mask.

    I think you could agree that it would be nice to see this thoughtful act copied by more of our own citizenry.


    HarryMonk – I must say I agree having spoken this week with a doctor who described the current arrangements as,

    “being seen to do something”. She said what they are doing now is no more and gave the example of a passenger being screened after all the other passengers had already gone through. Do they then close the airport, impound all the taxis, shut the car-parks, block public transport links if a suspect is found ?

    The ‘fix’ for the problem is screening at the point of departure not arrival.


    The idea that someone can sneeze into a mask is really not realistic. As a Director of Healthcare facilities during my clinical work i have often worn medical grade masks. You could not sneeze in those.
    The masks they use you can buy at B & Q!

    Even in theatre, Surgeons wear several at a time and need them replacing often during one operation. To be realistic, if the body needs to sneeze, it is saying it needs to expel, so using a tissue is the way, dispose of it hygienically in the bathroom.

    Spitting and the clearing of the back of the throat in Hong Kong is quite normal, then again so has one of the highest rates of TB transmission in any City, though London is high at this time.

    I have to say, if you ask qualified Nurses, or Dr’s we would all say the same. I also read in The Times today that travellers are not being checked coming from these countries at LHR, as already no one seems to know if it is voluntary or not. one passenger flying in from Liberia and others on his original flight commented that most simply did not walk that way, they went via customs.

    If you really questioned those who wore these masks in the airport, it if for their benefit not every one elses. the reality is not 13 hrs of travel protection, but 20 minutes effectively for the person wearing it. The psychology of wearing them is quite self protecting,but also of making a statement with this obvious, pointless statement, over your face.


    Coming from HKG today, no messing about or political correctness.. machines set up and about every 10th person randomly having their temperature taken….. authorities just do it… don’t ask, nothing for the passenger to sign…

    BKK there was nothing I could see..


    @ MartynSinclair – 16/10/2014 09:56 GMT

    As Ian and CX Diamond amongst others can confirm, HKG has had those monitors there for yonks because of SARS and Avian Flu (or are they one and the same?). The same is true of most airports across mainland China.

    What you can expect (and on the basis of personal experience) if travelling through a mainland airport, is that, as a guilo, you will be the one singled out for the temperature testing and for the explosives swab testing. The idea that Chinese airport staff racially profile is, of course, utterly preposterous.


    MarcusGB – I agree completely with your comments about masks. Look for the evidence they are doing any good. Look at what is done in the operating theatre to see how to make a mask as effective as it can be. Our masked colleagues from China and Japan feel they are extending a courtesy to others (which is to be respected) but alas it is a statement with no other point.

    The temperature sensor machines at oriental and some other airports are surely worse than useless. If you are going to measure body temperature at a distance from the person, then exactly standard conditions are what is needed: with each subject at precisely the same distance from the sensor, not just randomly wandering past.


    HKG also does something else that IMO is critical to managing an outbreak. Having the ability to trace passengers after they leave the airport. Maybe the medical people here can comment, but is the incubation period not relevant here.
    On my arrival card, I have to state where I’m staying. Although having said that, the officers don’t question further when I just write down DB!

    And agree with AD, I’ll relate a funny story about the temperature machine at HKG, at the time; my FO mate arrived after a long flight and was instructed to park at a faraway gate. In a rush to catch the next bus home and at his captain’s encouragement they both decided to abandon the train and jogrun the length of the terminal.

    My mate had no issues at immigration, and sailed through. The captain on the other was stopped and grilled and missed the bus………the difference during their chek lap kok dash ……the captain left is hat on……and triggered the SARs alarm.

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