Israel Intensifies Ebola Screening: All Airline Passengers Arriving From Africa to Be Tested

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People sit at Ben-Gurion International Airport in a January 5, 2010 file photo.Credit: Reuters

Israel expanded screening of airline passengers for Ebola on Sunday, testing everyone who arrives at Ben-Gurion International Airport from Africa.

Some 70 passengers who arrived on a flight from Cairo were checked for fever on Sunday. All of them were released following the examination.

Previously, medical staff only screened those who arrived from the three countries most stricken by Ebola: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Officials from the Israel Airports Authority explained that there are no direct flights to Ben-Gurion from the three countries, and therefore passengers may arrive on connecting flights from elsewhere on the continent, thus the need for expanded screening measures.

Shimshon Katz, director of passenger services at the airport, told Army Radio that people arriving on flights from Africa will from now on be directed to Terminal 1, where they will be questioned by medics and tested for fever. Furthermore, border control staff will hand out flyers to passengers arriving from other destinations, asking them to declare whether they have visited one of the afflicted countries over the past 21 days.

Last week, Israel held a drill at Ben-Gurion International Airport to practice identifying Ebola patients. As part of the exercise, which involved mock patients, officials also practiced procedures for quarantine, initial care and transfer of patients to hospitals. 

Also Sunday, three isolation tents were erected at Rambam Hospital in case the Ebola virus is diagnosed among patients. So far, there have been no diagnosed cases of the virus in Israel.

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