HC orders scanner for Ebola screening at Pune, Nagpur airports

The Bombay High Court asked the Centre to immediately provide thermal image scanners at Nagpur and Pune Airports for the screening of passengers from African countries for a possible Ebola infection.

The division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka adjourned the hearing on public interest litigation filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar till September 17. The PIL alleges that India is not fully equipped to prevent the spread of the dreaded epidemic.

Last week HC had asked the state government to provide medical screening facilities at Pune and Nagpur airports, on the lines of such facilities at Mumbai and Delhi.

The Maharashtra government said in an affidavit today that the Centre had not provided scanners for Nagpur and Pune.

The doctors at Pune and Nagpur airports have to rely on digital thermometers to detect the passengers who may have fever, said Shyamsunder Nimgade, assistant director, health services. A written request had already been sent to the Centre in this regard, he added.

The affidavit further said that director of health services had written to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai and the Mumbai Port Trust to start screening of crew members of vessels coming from Ebola-hit countries.

Advocate Rui Rodrigues, counsel of the Central government, said adequate screening measures were in place at the airports and the ports.

The PIL alleges that several Indians or NRIs in Africa were returning due to the outbreak of Ebola in the continent, but there are no facilities either to detect or treat the epidemic in India.