JAKARTA: Thermal scanners have been set up at Indonesia’s airports and seaports, including those in Pekanbaru and Batam, to monitor visitors from Singapore for signs of monkeypox.
This comes after Singapore confirmed its first case of the rare virus last week.
According to a report by Jakarta Post, state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II (AP II) said it is working with the port health office (KKP) to beef up monitoring at its 13 international airports.
"One of the ways is by installing thermal scanners at airports. If they identify suspected patients, necessary measures will be taken," AP II’s vice president for corporate communication Yado Yarismano reportedly said on Wednesday (May 15).
AP II oversees airports in western Indonesia, including the Sultan Syarif Kasim II International Airport in Pekanbaru, Riau.
A thermal scanner was installed at the arrival gate of the Pekanbaru airport on Sunday.
About 50 to 100 people arrive at the airport daily on direct flights from Singapore, said KKP’s Pekanbaru head Syarifuddin Saragih.
"Travellers from Singapore can potentially be infected by the monkeypox and spread it here," he said.
The Batam city government has also set up thermal scanners at five international seaports, namely Batam Centre, Citra Tritunas, Sekupang, Marina and Nongsa Point Marina, which have direct connections with Singapore.
If passengers are found to have symptoms, they will be referred to the Batam Free Trade Zone Hospital and Embung Fatimah Public Hospital, according to Jakarta Post.
PT Angkasa Pura I (AP I), another state-owned airport operator which oversees airports in central and eastern Indonesia, also said it will set up thermal scanners at its international airports, according to spokesperson Awaluddin, who goes by one name.
Singapore’s first imported case of monkeypox is a 38-year-old Nigerian who arrived on Apr 28 and tested positive for the virus on May 8.
The patient is in stable condition in an isolation ward at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.
Five Singapore residents are among those quarantined after coming into close contact with the patient. They have showed no symptoms of the virus.
An infected person may experience fever, headahe, swelling of the lymph nodes, back pain and muscle ache. Rashes appear within one to three days after the onset of fever.
Dr Risnandar Nasution, a doctor with the KKP, was quoted as saying by Antaranews that the equipment installed is the latest thermal scanner.
While the scanners may look simple, they are effective and accurate in detecting body temperature above the normal level, he said on Tuesday.
"The machine will beep when it detects passengers with body temperature above 38 degree celsius. A red indicator will be displayed, and the images of the said passengers will be recorded."
Those with body temperature above normal level will be separated for health checks, he said.
"As of now we haven't detected any monkeypox cases or other dangerous disease," he added.