China will offer free Zika health screenings for people travelling from Singapore and other affected countries, the quarantine bureau said on Wednesday. However, it was not clearly explained whether the tests would be compulsory or not.
Earlier, China announced that it would organise checks for people and goods arriving from Singapore. Nearly 275 locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in Singapore including 20 Chinese nationals.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine posted a statement on its website saying that individuals travelling from Singapore and other Zika affected countries with symptoms of the virus should report to quarantine officials while entering China.
The administration said all international travel healthcare centres would provide "free Zika screening and tests" but it did not mention if the checks would be mandatory.
The international airports in China are generally equipped with thermal scanners which are capable of screening travellers for fever as they pass through customs.
Several passengers have been required to fill out health declaration forms at those international airports during past outbreaks, including that of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) and swine flu.
China is quite experienced in dealing with disease outbreaks over the past few years. But there have been no obvious reasons that Beijing is worried about Zika outbreak in the nation.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that can be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. The virus can cause birth defects and can also result in microcephaly in which the baby's head is smaller than expected. While in cases of adults, Zika infections have been linked to a rare neurological syndrome known as Guillain-Barre, and other neurological disorders as well.
The World Health Organisation said people infected with the virus can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. The symptoms of Zika normally last for two to seven days.