The Government is expected to announce some method of screening at UK airports after America brought in temperature checks
“Passengers arriving in the UK are to be screened for signs of ebola” Sky News reports
“Calls for testing have increased over fears Britain could soon have its first cases of the deadly virus, which has so far killed more than 3,800 people in West Africa.
The Government, which previously said checks would be impractical and ineffective, is expected to announce the move shortly.
It comes as the US unveiled extra airport screening after the death of the first patient diagnosed with the deadly virus in America .
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned it is “entirely possible” ebola could spread to Britain.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, called for screening at airports, ports and railway stations.
Handheld thermal scanners, which check body temperature, could be used to identify passengers who have a high fever, one of the symptoms of the disease.
They are already being used in some African countries, but there are questions over their reliability.
Professor David Heymann, chairman of Public Health England’s Advisory Board, told Sky News: “I think that screening at borders sets up a security that is sometimes dangerous because then people think the solution is there.
“The problem in the UK must be understood by everyone in the UK.
“They need to know how the disease is spread and how they can prevent themselves from becoming infected.”
Patients can also carry the virus for several weeks before showing any signs of infection.
Public Health England says any worthwhile screening programme would be impractical, and “robust, well-developed” plans are already in place.”
The Telegraph reports: “The Department of Health said an update to current procedures would be given this afternoon.
Today George Osborne, the Chancellor, said travellers entering the UK would be tested for Ebola if medical experts say it is necessary.
Mr Osborne said the Government was committed to protecting the British public from the disease.
“If the medical advice is we need to screen – it might well be – then we will absolutely take that action,” he told BBC News.
“We are not going to do anything that puts the British population at risk. Quite the opposite. The steps we have taken for several months now have all been designed to protect Britain from this awful disease.”
His comments came amid conflicting signals from Whitehall, with the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon claiming that the existing Government policy was in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) advice.
Boris Johnson today met with health officials to discuss screening for Ebola at UK airports.
The London Mayor said the disease was an “obvious source of concern” and implied that security might still be tightened.
“A certain amount of screening is obviously now going on,” he told reporters at a briefing. “We will have to review it as the situation develops and I am certainly having meetings on it today.”
Hospitals in Sheffield, Liverpool,Newcastle and London are on stand by to provide “surge capacity” should the virus spread to Britain.
There are currently no direct flights to the UK from the countries worst hit worst hit, namely Sierra Leone and Liberia.
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