British government announces Ebola screening at selective airports

British government has announced that screening for the Ebola virus will be carried out for people arriving in the U.K. at selective airports for safety purpose. 

Ebola virus, also known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) is not airborne like the flu so is more difficult to catch but is very infectious and the infected people have to be kept separate to reduce the risk of it spreading. It can be caught through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person such as blood and saliva. According to new World Health Organisation (WHO) reports, the recorded number of deaths from Ebola has almost reached 4,000 worldwide and warned the real number could be more.

Previously, the government had stated of having no plans to introduce screening for the disease, saying that the WHO had not recommended the procedure.

However, Downing Street has said in a freshly released statement that people arriving from areas affected by Ebola will face “enhanced screening” at Heathrow, Gatwick and Eurostar terminals to prevent spreading the virus. The screening will affect the travellers coming from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in west Africa suspected of carrying Ebola after reports a British citizen has died from the virus in Macedonia.

According to the reports, the screening would involve travellers being asked questions and “potentially given a medical assessment”.

Downing Street has said the major shift in the policy had been adopted following new advice from the chief medical office.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said: “Quite rightly, we’re taking all the steps we can to keep our own people safe here in the UK.

“What we do is we listen to the medical advice and we act on that advice and that’s why we’re introducing the screening processes at the appropriate ports and airports.”

However, a physician specialising in infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene &Tropical Medicine, Professor David Mabey has said to believe that the questionnaires to be used for screening are a “waste of time” because it is highly likely that the passengers who have visited infected areas will not be truthful when questioned.

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