EU to launch 'immediate' review of exit screening in Ebola-hit African states

EU health ministers agreed on Thursday to launch an immediate review of the screening of passengers departing Ebola-hit countries in West Africa, health commissioner Tonio Borg said.

The health ministers meeting in Brussels had also agreed to "coordinate" measures at entry points to the 28-nation European Union, although any decision on for Ebola rests with individual countries.

The European Commission, the EU executive, "will immediately undertake an audit of exit screening systems in place in the affected countries... to check their effectiveness and reinforce them as necessary," Borg told reporters after the meeting.

The review of the exit screening in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone will be conducted in coordination with the World Health Organisation, he said.

They would "coordinate national measures" at EU arrival points such as having common protocols and procedures on passenger questionnaires.

Officials said some 21 health ministers attended the meeting which was called at short notice.

With the decision up to member states to decide what measures to take, the meeting was focused on coordinating efforts to stop the spread of the worst-ever outbreak of the virus, which has killed some 4,500 people, almost all in west Africa.

Several health workers have been evacuated back to Europe from Africa with Ebola, but the only recorded case of transmission on the continent so far is a Spanish nurse in Madrid.


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© 2014 AFP

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