U.K. to Hold National Ebola Readiness Drill

News comes after Britain announced plans to hold airport screenings at major international airport terminals, similar to the ones instated in the U.S. on Wednesday.

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron waits to greets Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb at Number 10 Downing Street in London October 8, 2014.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron waits to greets Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb at Number 10 Downing Street in London October 8, 2014. Credit: Reuters

DPA - British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered a national Ebola readiness drill to take place across the health sector on Saturday in light of an outbreak that has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa, the U.K.'s Health Ministry confirmed.

The ministry, hospitals and ambulance services will take part in an eight-hour exercise responding to actors simulating symptoms of the virus, according to a ministry spokesman.

"It is crucial to create the most realistic situation possible in order to test our responsiveness to a possible outbreak," the spokesman said.

The news comes after Britain announced plans to hold airport screenings at major international airport terminals, similar to the ones instated in the United States on Wednesday.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) released updated figures on the Ebola death toll, saying that 4,033 people have succumbed to the virus globally.

The hardest-hit country is Liberia, where 2,316 people have died. The death toll in Sierra Leone and Guinea stands at nearly 1,000 respectively, according to the latest WHO update.

Also on Friday, the first vaccine trial on African soil was launched with 40 people in Mali volunteering to receive experimental treatment that could prevent infection.

Initial trials of the vaccine started in September on healthy individuals in the United States and Britain. Fourty people are also slated to take part in Gambia.

Leading scientists published an editorial in response to the trial in The Lancet medical, British media reported, warning that administering a placebo during such a deadly outbreak would be unethical.

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