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Heathrow, Dubai, Sydney, USA move slowly on Ebola

October 15, 2014 Airport, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59London Heathrow airport will start screening passengers for suspected Ebola this week but Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports have no plans for Ebola screening.

The reaction from other airports to the dreaded disease is similarly patchy. Fewer than 200 people have arrived in Sydney from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa over the past two months, according to health authorities quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald. Measures are in place to ensure people are checked for symptoms before they leave the airport.

Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days. Health care workers returning from missions in the big three Ebola countries – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – are required to “home quarantine” (or stay at home) for that period under an agreement between Médecins Sans Frontières, the Red http://www.centarahotelsresorts.com/b2b/Cross and the NSW Health Department. They are also required to report daily to their public health unit. No such restrictions or requirements apply to routine, non-medical travellers from those countries.

In the US, screening has begun at Washington’s Dulles International airport, Chicago’s O’Hare International, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International and Newark Liberty International.

In all cases, “screening” at airports consists of checking passengers for elevated temperatures and asking them questions, hoping that they are honest and answer truthfully.

Critically, there is no Ebola screening for arrivals at Brussels Airport in Belgium. The twice-weekly Brussels Airlines flight from Monrovia to Brussels is the only remaining scheduled air link from the Ebola-stricken country of Liberia and the European continent.

In Australia, Health Minister Peter Dutton says screening processes are in place for travellers entering Australia from Africa or people who suspect they have the disease.

In Britain, UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has conceded it will be impossible to check all the 1000 people a month arriving from the countries worst affected by Ebola.

Hunt said it was likely Ebola would be diagnosed in Britain by the end of the year but there would probably be less than 10 cases over the next three months, the Guardian reported.

Hunt estimated 89% of passengers to Britain from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea would be identified by screening at the border but admitted authorities were relying to some extent on travellers “self-presenting”.

Britain’s Immigration Services Union (ISU), representing 5000 UK border staff, is demanding that passengers be screened as they depart the aircraft rather than at border control.

In the UAE, Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport say that although they have no plans to screen for the potentially fatal disease, the situation is being monitored closely.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely and maintain ongoing contact with UAE health authorities who, along with the World Health Organisation, are the governing authorities and experts in this area,” a Dubai airport spokesman told The National newspaper in the UAE.

“As per their instruction and recommendation, we do not have any screening measures in place at the moment.

“We do have resources and protocols in place to deal with a situation with any passengers displaying symptoms at the airport.”

Abu Dhabi airport is acting similarly.

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. stingforever says:

    …yes, screening on departure from ebola stricken countries is the most sensible thing to do…

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