What’s the Government doing about Ebola?October 14, 2014 // No Comments
There have been several announcements in the past week from the government about their contingency plans for Ebola. The most important point to note is that the overall risk of Ebola to the UK remains low.
Public Health England is closely monitoring the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, and is taking action at home and abroad. The Chief Medical Officer has recommended enhanced screening arrangements at the UK’s main ports of entry for people travelling from the affected regions – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. This will offer an additional level of protection to the UK. To begin with enhanced screening will take place at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Eurostar terminals. It will involve assessing passengers’ recent travel history, who they have been in contact with and where they are going next, as well as a possible medical assessment. Medical assessments will be carried out by trained medical staff rather than Border Force staff. Passengers will also be given advice on what to do should they develop symptoms later.
On 12th October, ministers, government departments and dozens of expert medical professionals from ambulance services, hospitals and Public Health England participated in a national exercise to test preparedness for an Ebola case in the UK. The 8 hour scenario involved different exercises in different geographical locations, volunteer actors simulating Ebola symptoms and medical personnel wearing personal protective equipment.
On the international playing field, the UK is working with the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and the wider international community to combat Ebola at the source in the African countries affected. Britain is playing a leading role, particularly in Sierra Leone where it can best help to fight the crisis. The UK has committed a £125 million package of direct support to help contain, control, treat and ultimately defeat Ebola.