Screening travellers at international borders could slow down COVID transmission

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |

September 16, 2020 8:50:15 pm





Screening for COVID-19 infection in airports, airport screening, COVID-19 infection, travelling, indian express newsGovernments have almost always faced the predicament of whether they should test people at airports or quarantine travellers who are returning from certain highly-infected destinations. (Source: Pixabay)

A review of scientific studies has found that screening people at international airports and at train stations could slow down the spread of the COVID-19 infection ‘slightly’.

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According to a report in the Daily Mail, governments have almost always faced the predicament of whether they should test people at airports or quarantine travellers who are returning from certain highly-infected destinations.

The outlet mentions that Britain, for instance, is currently asking travellers to self-isolate for two weeks if they come into the country from someplace that has a high infection rate – currently on the list are France, Spain and Portugal – but there is no testing or screening system in place. And while there is a facility at the Heathrow Airport for testing 13,000 people per day, it is not being used at the moment.

ALSO READ | In Italy, travellers will be subjected to COVID-19 test before leaving the country

But, as mentioned before, a review — by the Cochrane Library group of international scientists — has looked at 22 past studies and concluded that there was “weak evidence in favour of screening”. It is possible that it can push back a local outbreak by eight days, if 10 infected people were arriving per day, the researchers found.

“One study suggests that symptom screening at travel hubs, such as airports, may slightly slow but not stop the importation of infected cases (assuming 10 or 100 infected travellers per week reduced the delay in a local outbreak to 8 days or 1 day, respectively),” the researchers wrote in the review.

Screening at the border could include asking people about their health to find out if they have had any symptoms of COVID-19. It could also involve temperature checks.

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