Bonn More than 42,000 people worldwide are infected with the Corona virus. Many countries have now issued an entry ban for travellers from China. What precautions do airports in Germany take?
More than 30 countries have now issued an entry ban for travellers from China. From Antigua and Barbuda and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Australia, Vietnam, Russia, India, several Central American countries, Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia to Italy and the USA. According to the Daily Mail, the UK is also considering a ban on entry. In Germany, however, this does not seem to be an issue at all.
On the contrary. There are still direct flights from Beijing to Germany, for example. Those who want to go from China to Cologne or Bonn can book a direct flight via Lufthansa to Düsseldorf or Frankfurt. Meanwhile the flight is operated by Air China. "We have discontinued air traffic to and from China up to and including February 29," said a Lufthansa spokesman in response to a GA inquiry. The flights that were operated were only carried out "for marketing and booking purposes" via the airline partners of the Star Alliance.
There are no precautions at Cologne/Bonn Airport due to the Corona Virus epidemic, a spokeswoman said. "There are no flights from China landing at our airport either." However, connecting flights for travellers who have booked a flight from China via Munich to Cologne: If you fly via Frankfurt, you will receive a train ticket to Cologne Central Station or Siegburg via your flight booking.
No entry controls in Frankfurt
In Germany, 14 cases of Corona Virus are known to date. Last Friday, the Corona Virus from China brought two guests from Frankfurt Airport to the isolation ward. Nevertheless, Frankfurt Airport states: “Frankfurt Airport is very well prepared for infectious diseases and is in continuous contact with the responsible health authorities. Currently, no entry checks in the sense of health checks are carried out at the airport.”
And in Düsseldorf, where direct flights from China also arrive? "In such cases, the assessment of a hazard or risk situation is the responsibility of the health authorities of the City of Düsseldorf. The same applies to the scheduling of possible protective measures, such as asking passengers about conspicuous features such as flu-like symptoms, the use of disinfection carpets, the wearing of breathing masks, etc.", says the airport spokesman. So far, the health department of the state capital of Düsseldorf "has not yet seen any reason to initiate such measures, as the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) continues to regard the estimation of the introduction of cases to Germany as low”.
In the meantime, more than 1,000 people have died of the Corona Virus and more than 42,000 have been infected. The World Health Organization (WHO) is inviting experts to a summit midweek, where specialists will discuss therapies, the source of the virus, transmissibility and possible vaccinations. On Thursday, EU health ministers will discuss measures to protect against the spread of the virus.
And in the region? A management team has been set up in the Rhein-Sieg district health office, according to the district hall. This includes the heads of the health office, the medical service and the department of hygiene and infection control. In addition, there is regular contact with higher-level authorities, such as the State Centre for Health, as well as the health authorities of neighbouring municipalities and the medical service of the German Armed Forces.
Inadequate incident management
On the other hand, a test report on health services and hygiene monitoring in the Rhein-Sieg district states that there is still "potential for optimisation" in the district's pandemic planning. According to the report, there are still no concrete strategies for action in the event of a major incident - and this despite the fact that in July 2017 there was "an outbreak of a multi-resistant pathogen in a highly sensitive area of a hospital" in the Rhein-Sieg district. The so-called incident management is said to be inadequate. A draft for a pandemic plan by the State Center for Health NRW has never been adopted.
So what are the preparations for possible diseases caused by the Corona Virus (2019-nCoV)?
According to the press office of the district administration, several clinics are prepared to accept suspected patients: Helios Hospital Siegburg, Asklepios Children's Hospital Sankt Augustin, St. Johannes Hospital Sieglar, St. Josef Hospital Troisdorf, St. Franziskus Hospital Eitorf as well as Cura Hospital Bad Honnef.
The 2019-nCoV comes from the family of corona viruses. A human-to-human transmission is possible. At the moment it is assumed that it is not as contagious as influenza. There is no specific therapy or vaccination. The public health department recommends adhering to "good hand hygiene as well as coughing and sneezing etiquette" and, if possible, keeping a distance to patients with cold symptoms.
(Original text: Dylan Cem Akalin; )Translation: Mareike Graepel