Bali Airport has announced that it will be increasing screening measures for all tourists arriving on the island following an outbreak of Monkey Pox in the country.
The capital city of Jakarta in Java is currently experiencing a rise in cases, and Bali is being proactive in its mitigation efforts.
The General Manager of PT Angkasa Pura I I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, Handy Heyudhitiawan, has told reporters that Ngurah Rai Airport Management is tightening supervision of both aircraft crew and passengers to prevent the spread of monkeypox in Bali.
Heyudhitiawan told reporters, “The I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport Community is increasing awareness of monkeypox by continuing to coordinate with the Port Health Office (KKP) regarding anticipating a monkeypox outbreak.”
He added, “We are coordinating with the KKP in arranging the necessary procedures and monitoring methods.” All passengers arriving in Bali, whether at the domestic or international terminals, will have to pass by thermal imaging cameras on arrival, which will detect raised temperatures.
A fever, or rising body temperature, is one of the earliest symptoms of monkeypox, as well as the Nipah virus, which airport officials are also on high alert for. The telltale symptom of monkeypox is the development of a blistering rash and swollen lymph nodes.
Heyudhitiawan explained there is 24-hour surveillance in place at Bali Airport from both a security and bio-security perspective.
He explained, “We ensure that this preventive measure aims to maintain the safety and comfort of service users at the airport, as well as preventing the spread of monkeypox to the Bali region.”
Predictions from the Director General of Disease Prevention and Control of the Ministry of Health, Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, suggest that over 3,000 people in Indonesia could be affected by this outbreak of monkeypox.
Speaking from Jakarta last week, Rondonuwu said, “Our prediction with epidemiologist experts compared the rate that occurred in England. We estimate that the key population could be up to 3,600 people.” He confirmed that contact tracing efforts are underway in Jakarta to help ensure public safety during the outbreak.
He continued, “We have tried to sort the timeline of who was the first (infected). We have seen one probable case since August who has had symptoms, but he did not take a sample and it is difficult to find this person, and he often goes back and forth abroad.”
Rondonuwu assured the public that although monkeypox is a serious virus, that the risk of serious complications or fatality is low. “This variant is not too serious, the death rate is also low.”
Monkeypox can be transmitted through physical contact with the infected bodily fluids, scabs, or blisters. Extended close contact can result in transmission through infected droplets from coughs and sneezes.
The incubation period for the disease is 1-2 weeks typically, though records show a full range of incubation periods from 5-21 days.
Anyone showing symptoms of monkeypox should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The thermal imaging process is not set to add any additional time to the arrivals process at Bali Airport.
In fact, arrival times are set to speed up in the coming weeks. It has been confirmed that Bali Airport will be installing 90 new auto-gates to help speed up the immigration process.
The first set of gates are being installed now, with the project due to be completed in early 2024. There will be 60 auto gates installed in the arrivals hall and 30 in the departures area.
Airport officials have said that the installation process will not impact queue times at immigration as all staffed counters will remain open and operational.
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