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Ebola screening set up at UK airports

Medical screening is being set up at two airports and an international train station in London in order to detect incoming cases of Ebola. 

Enhanced screening is due to start at London Heathrow and Gatwick airports and the Eurostar terminals for passengers travelling from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Border Force staff will assess passengers' recent travel history, who they have been in contact with, and onward travel arrangements. 

Clinical staff may carry out a medical assessment on some passengers. They will also be given advice on what to do if they develop symptoms later. 

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “It is important to remember that the overall risk to the public in the UK continues to be very low, and the UK has some of the best public health protection systems in the world with well-developed and well-tested systems for managing infectious diseases when they arise. Contingency planning is also underway including a national exercise and wider resilience training to ensure the UK is fully prepared.”

Airports in Liberia, Sierra Leona and Guinea have been screening people leaving the countries for the past few weeks. 

Any passenger showing signs of Ebola is prevented from leaving the country. 

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies said: “Although the risk to the UK remains low, in view of the concern about the growing number of cases, it is right to consider what further measures could be taken, to ensure that any potential cases arriving in the UK are identified as quickly as possible. 

“Rapid access to healthcare services by someone infected with Ebola is not only important for their health but also key to reducing the risk of transmission to others.

“We remain alert and prepared, should an Ebola case be identified here. We have well-tested processes in place but anything that means that people are more likely to present early are to be welcomed.”