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18th Jan 2020

Belgium's main airport starts Ebola screening

  • Passengers arriving in Brussels from west Africa will be screened for high temperatures (Photo: Filip Bunkens)

Brussels airport has started Ebola screening as it receives four direct flights a week from the three west African countries stricken by the Ebola outbreak.

At around 4am on Monday (20 October), passengers arriving at Brussels airport from Guinea and Liberia were the first to be screened at Belgium's main airport.

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The Belgian ministry of health announced the precautionary measures on Sunday.

All passengers arriving from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – the three west African countries where most of the Ebola cases are – will be checked for fever.

Those with a fever will be questioned by a nurse or doctor at the airport, and sent to the hospital if they are suspected of having the virus.

Erika Vlieghe, who was appointed Belgium's national Ebola co-ordinator on Friday (17 October), said the measures add "value" to the screenings already being done in west Africa before departure.

But she admitted the chances are small that temperature screenings catch an Ebola case.

Vlieghe noted that the measures were “primarily to remove the increasing worries” of airport personnel, some of whom will receive additional training on how to safely clean planes and what to do when someone has symptoms.

Meanwhile in Spain, the nurse who was the first to contract Ebola outside of Africa, tested negative for the virus, AFP reported.

A second test is necessary to ensure she no longer has the virus.

Four other people who were at risk of Ebola, have also tested negative, El Pais reported.

But for his part, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called on the world to take action.

“The time for talking and theorising is over”, she told the BBC on Sunday (19 October).

EU foreign ministers are meeting in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss a European response to the outbreak.

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