UK foreign secretary warns of Ebola threat
LONDON The Ebola outbreak in west Africa poses a very serious threat to Britain, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said yesterday, as England s public health authority warned the virus was out of control.
Hammond was to chair a meeting of COBRA, the governments crisis response committee, to assess Britains preparations to cope with any possible outbreak of the disease.
One person in Britain has been tested for Ebola, the Department of Health ( DoH) ministry confirmed, but the tests proved negative.
Reports suggested he had travelled from west Africa to central England.
Health professionals have been warned to be vigilant for signs of the deadly virus.
As far as we are aware, there are no British nationals so far affected by this outbreak and certainly no cases in the UK, Hammond told Sky News television.
However, the prime minister does regard it as a very serious threat and I will be chairing a COBRA meeting later today to assess the situation and look at any measures that we need to take either in the UK, or in our diplomatic posts abroad in order to manage the threat.
Dr Brian McCloskey, director of global health at Public Health England (PHE), said the body was closely monitoring developments in west Africa.
Its clear the outbreak is not under control, he said in a statement.
The continuing increase in cases, especially in Sierra Leone, and the importation of a single case from Liberia to Nigeria, is a cause for concern, as it indicates the outbreak is not yet under control. We will continue to assess the situation and provide support as required.
Pan-African airline ASKY suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone over the worsening Ebola health crisis, as the Liberian football association said it halted all activities in the country.
The LFA decided to cease operations of football activities considering that football matches are contact sports and Ebola is spread through body contacts with an infected person, LFA chief Musa Bility said in a statement on Tuesday.
Meanwhile the finance ministry in Liberia, where 127 people have died of the disease, said it had placed several senior officials under observation for three weeks after a top ministry official died from the virus.
Patrick Sawyer was on official business in Nigeria last week when he contracted the disease.