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Airport turns on local fever scanners

PUDONG International Airport has begun checking passengers arriving from countries that have reported swine flu, and anyone with a fever will be immediately sent to a hospital for further tests, officials said yesterday.

Pork imports from the trouble spots have been banned, and the country's tourism authorities have told travel agencies to stop sending vacationers to Mexico, the country hardest hit by the flu and the only one with fatalities.

The city has reported no human cases of swine flu so far.

Airport checks will focus mostly on passengers coming in from Mexico. They'll have to walk past temperature scanners on the passenger bridge just after they've left their plane.

The Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau checked about 200 passengers arriving from Mexico on Sunday morning but did not find any indications of the disease. The next flight from Mexico City doesn't arrive until tomorrow.

Travelers from Mexico will also have to fill out a health form and provide contact information to make it easier for authorities to track them down if necessary.

Special channel

Air travelers arriving from other affected countries, including the United States and Spain, will be diverted into a special channel in the airport for temperature checks.

Anyone whose temperature exceeds 37.5 degrees Celsius will be sent to the Shanghai Public Health Center for further checks, including blood and ultrasound tests and questioning about their travel experiences and contacts.

The entry-exit bureau is now training staff and will increase facilities to handle the enhanced inspections.

"We have been on alert ever since the 2003 SARS crisis," said Xu Chaozhe, the bureau's deputy director general.

The agency has also banned pork and pork products imported from Kansas, Texas and California in the US, where swine flu has been reported, and also from Mexico.

Tourism officials yesterday advised travelers not to go to Mexico. Three Shanghai tourists are now in the country and were urged to wear masks and contact the Chinese Embassy for help if they experience flu symptoms, according to the Shanghai Tourism Administration.


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