Thursday 18 January 2018

No Ebola screening at Irish airports, says HSE

A Moroccan health worker uses a thermometer to screen a passenger at the arrivals hall of the Mohammed V airport in Casablanca. AP
A Moroccan health worker uses a thermometer to screen a passenger at the arrivals hall of the Mohammed V airport in Casablanca. AP
A woman looks through the window of a ward where she is being kept isolated in at Madrid's Carlos III Hospital. Reuters
People look from the window of a quarantined hotel in Skopje. A British man showing symptoms of the Ebola virus died in Macedonia on Thursday and authorities said they had sealed off the hotel where he stayed, keeping another Briton and hotel staff inside. Reuters
Nearly 200 airline cabin cleaners walk on a picket line at Laguardia International Airport after going on strike overnight out of concern over health and safety issues including the possible exposure to the Ebola virus in the Queens borough of New York City. Photo: Getty Images
Doctors wear protective suits inside Carlos III hospital, where nurse Teresa Romero is being treated for the Ebola virus in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Getty Images
A health worker takes the temperature of US Marines arriving to take part in Operation United Assistance near Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: Getty Images
US Marines arrive on MV-22 Ospreys to take part in Operation United Assistance in Monrovia, Liberia. Some 90 Marines arrived on KC-130 transport planes and the Ospreys to support the American effort to contain the Ebola epidemic. Photo: Getty Images
The heads of the UN, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank discuss the Ebola outbreak in Washington (AP)

The HSE will not yet introduce screenings for Ebola at Irish airports despite both Britain and the US setting up safety measures.

A spokesman from the HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) told the Herald that aside from posters at airports and ports, no other action is being taken.

"Posters have been produced for airports and ports which provide information on Ebola to passengers travelling to or from countries affected by this outbreak.

"The World Health Organisation (WHO) is not recommending any other actions in airports or ports in Ireland in relation to Ebola," said the HSPC spokesman.


Meanwhile, the HSE has cleared a cargo ship that eight days ago was in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to dock in Dublin Port.

A spokesman said all necessary checks have been made and certificates of clearance have been submitted, ahead of the arrival of the Grande Argentina which was due to dock in the early hours of this morning.

The Gibraltar-flagged ship first docked in Tenerife on Monday after leaving the Ebola hotspot.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the country is well prepared if a case arrives on our shores.

"Ireland is preparing well for this in the event that a suspect case might come to our country and that is being coordinated by Minister Coveney (Agriculture) who has responsibility the emergency response unit," said Mr Kenny.

The Cabinet will be briefed on the Ebola crisis by the Health Minister Leo Varadkar today.

Meanwhile, the US has introduced screening measures after a man died of the virus in a Dallas hospital last Wednesday.

Tomorrow questionnaires and temperatures checks will start at JFK International Airport in New York and next week Chicago O'Hare, Washington Dulles, Newark and Atlanta airports will bring in the measures.

And last night the British government announced that medical screenings will start at Heathrow airport in London as well as in Gatwick and the Eurostar train terminal.

The current outbreak which started in West Africa is the most severe one in the world's history with approximately 3,868 fatalities and 7,000 confirmed cases.

Last Monday, the first case of Ebola in Europe was confirmed, when Spanish nurse Teresa Romero was diagnosed as having the disease. Authorities have placed her in isolation.


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