Lisbon airport

Coronavirus confusion: Lisbon airport “not controlling arrivals from China” or displaying any information

Lisbon Airport is reported to be blanking the risks of coronavirus entering the capital by failing to control arrivals from China – or from any other country where the virus is known to have travelled – and neglecting to post any kind of information.

Rádio Rensascença says that “according to witnesses” interviewed by the station, passengers arriving from China are not having their temperatures taken (which would denote if they were ill or likely to become so), nor are they being given any advice on what to do if they develop likely symptoms.

One such passenger, coming into Lisbon from Hong Kong, found this “surprising”.

Airports elsewhere are checking travellers’ body temperatures every day, he said. “Here they are not.

“In Hong Kong people are using masks”, he added. “At the airport when I travelled here, everyone was using masks, even on the plane”.

But once they alighted, it was clear no such measures were in place in Portugal. Says RR, Chinese travellers are instantly distinguishable today as they emerge in the arrivals area, as “they are all wearing masks”.

RR’s interviewee said most nationals are concerned, but confident that their country will “resolve the situation rapidly”.

“I believe my country will succeed in controlling this virus”, said the passenger explained. “Not many people are getting it considering China is enormous and has millions of inhabitants. I think it will all work out. I am not worried”.

As of today (Monday), the death toll from this new strain of coronavirus has risen to 80 with around 3000 known to have been infected.

Caseshave been flagged in 37 countries as experts warn people can be infectious long before they develop symptoms.

For now, Portugal is described as “having activated public health entities” – namely the hospitals of São João and Dona Estefânia in Lisbon.

Meantime, recommendations for anyone in a country where cases have been confirmed, include ‘avoiding contact with people who suffer chronic respiratory conditions’; avoiding contact with animals and frequent hand-washing.

Anyone with any kind of cough or cold is advised to cover their nose and mouth.

Anyone in Portugal who has recently returned from China and then becomes ill is asked to remain at home and call the health service 24-hour hotline: 808 24 24 24, for advice.

So far Portugal has dodged this virus, with one suspected case having been given the all-clear yesterday (Sunday click here)