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Government u-turn on Ebola screening

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Travellers from affected areas will be screened for the Ebola virus on arrival in the UK, the government has announced, despite assertions earlier this week that screening was unnecessary.

People arriving from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone will be subjected to 'enhanced screening' at Gatwick, Heathrow and Eurostar terminals. The screening process will involve assessing passengers' recent travel history, who they have had contact with, and onward travel arrangements, as well as a possible medical assessment, which will be conducted by trained medical staff, not border officials.

The announcement follows the first recorded transmission of the disease outside of West Africa, after a nurse in Spain tested positive for Ebola. A British man is thought to have died of the disease in Macedonia, although this remains unconfirmed. As of 3 October the current outbreak in West Africa had caused 3431 deaths out of 7470 cases.

Previously, the government had followed the WHO's advice that entry screening was unnecessary in the UK. Instead, the organisation recommended that affected countries carry out exit screening on international travellers.

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