Everybody who arrives at Shanghai airport has to do a fever screening. During SARS they already had this procedure in place, most of the time with one scanner just before immigration. I traveled a lot during and right after SARS, and many times nobody was even looking at the screens when passengers passed below the thermometers.
But with H1N1 the government takes things a bit more serious, and it certainly all looks a bit more scary, with staff coming into the airplane in green and white medical suits and wearing mouth caps. They measure each passenger’s temperature, and only if you pass that you are allowed to leave the plane and enter China. I took these pictures on Friday on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Shanghai Pudong.
However, you have to wonder how effective the procedure is. First of all, not everybody who has a fever has H1N1, meaning that lots of people may be quarantined for no reason. Second, when your fever develops after you arrive in China you may have infected many fellow passengers already. It therefore gives a false sense of security.
And to make matters worse, a friend told me that her flight arrived before 8 AM from Europe, and that the “medical staff” was not on duty yet. It seems that very early and very late flights are not checked at all. So if you feel like you may have a fever and still need to travel to China, make sure you arrive on the first flight in the morning. Or just take an fever-reducing aspirin an hour before touch down, that should solve the problem as well.