24th May 2019

Ebola screenings at Heathrow to start Tuesday

  • Passengers arriving at Heathrow airport from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will be screened for Ebola symptoms (Photo: Khairil Zhafri)

More people are dying of Ebola than previously thought. The death rate of the virus is now 70 percent, up from 50 percent, the assistant director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) said during a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday (14 October).

Bruce Aylward noted that 4,447 people have died of the disease, almost all of them in West Africa. In total there have been 8,914 cases.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

But the number of new cases can rise quickly, Aylward added, saying “a lot more people will die" if the world doesn't step up its response. In two months, 10,000 people could be infected weekly in West Africa.

Earlier the World Health Organisation had already called the pandemic “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times”.

Meanwhile, screenings of travellers from West Africa started at London's Heathrow airport terminal 1 on Tuesday.

Those who arrive from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea at terminal 1 will have to fill out a questionnaire and have their temperature taken. Similar screenings will commence later this week at other terminals at airports Heathrow and Gatwick, and to the Eurostar train station which connects Brussels to London.

In his address to MPs, Hunt acknowledged that “no screening and monitoring procedure can identify 100 people of people arriving from Ebola-affected countries”.

He said it is likely that “a handful of [Ebola] cases” in the UK is likely to appear “over the next three months.”

A British virologist raised doubts about the effectiveness of the measure in The Telegraph, however. He said that people who have the flu could be mistaken for Ebola cases.

“It would not surprise me if airport screening measures mainly caught unfortunate passengers with seasonal ailments who were unlucky enough to have recently been to Africa”, Ben Neuman was quoted as saying.

London is the first European capital to start screening for ebola at arrivals from affected countries. France announced on Monday that it will take extra measures.

Meanwhile, on Thursday (16 October), EU health ministers will discuss in Brussels whether member states should take additional measures.

At the same time, in a hospital in Brussels, a person who returned from Guinea earlier this month and contracted a high fever on Monday (13 October), has been put in quarantine.

“The patient possibly has Ebola, but the chance is higher that it will turn out to be malaria”, a spokesperson for the Belgian federal public service of health told Belgian media.

In Spain, a nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola last week, “is still in a very serious condition”, said a professor of preventive medicine and public health, speaking for the government.

Professor Fernando Rodriguez Artalejo also said the outbreak is under control, El Pais reports: “Right now there is no other person in Spain who is capable of transmitting the virus other than the patient … We are in a situation of total calm.”

Governments have good reason to quell panic.

Margaret Chan, who is the director-general of the World Health Organisation, said 90 percent of the economic damage from an Ebola outbreak “comes from irrational and disorganised efforts of the public to avoid infection.”

Outside of the most effected countries in West Africa, “fear of infection has spread around the world much faster than the virus [itself]”, Chan said, according to AP.

EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'

EU leaders praised Theresa May's commitment to deliver an orderly Brexit - while they now brace themselves for an even more eurosceptic British prime minister.

Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?

This is a political crisis unprecedented in Austria since the war: the resignation of the vice-chancellor, firing of the interior minister, the mass resignation of FPO ministers, a snap election, and a no-confidence vote in the Austrian parliament on Monday.


Italy train row exposes competing views of EU

A planned high-speed railway connection through the Alps between Italy and France has been highly controversial for decades and is pitting governing Italian coalition parties against each other. But the European Commission insists it must go ahead.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May announces June 7 resignation date
  2. Ireland votes for EU election and divorce referendum
  3. Report: May to announce resignation plan on Friday
  4. Leading politicians: time for EU to have female leaders
  5. Poll: Finland's Green party to surge in EU elections
  6. High demand for postal voting in Denmark
  7. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  8. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal


EU development aid used to put European police in Senegal

An Austrian criminal intelligence service persuaded Italy's interior minister Matteo Salvini to set up a unit in Sicily against migrant smuggling, while in Senegal EU development money is financing an European-police led reform of Dakar's defence and interior ministries.


All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'
  2. Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?
  3. Italy train row exposes competing views of EU
  4. Dutch socialists on top in first EP election exit poll
  5. No usage data kept for EU parliament's 'Citizens' App'
  6. EU sanctions regime cannot be an 'EU Magnitsky Act'
  7. Polling booths open in UK's limbo EU election
  8. Dutch PM puts EU exit on agenda with election gamble

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us