Travellers arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick from west Africa are to be screened for symptoms of Ebola, Downing Street announced on Thursday night after a day of confusion over the government’s response to the virus that has claimed more than 3,800 lives.
People travelling from the worst-affected countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – will face a questionnaire about their recent travel history, who they have been in contact with and their onward travel arrangements.
Medical staff will be deployed to check some travellers’ body temperature to ascertain if they have fever, one of the early symptoms of the illness. Rail passengers arriving in Kent and London on the Eurostar from Paris and Brussels will also be screened.As far as I am aware, there are no direct flights to the UK from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea. And, even if there were, someone may be incubating the disease without displaying any symptoms and would therefore slip through any screening. Furthermore, what about all those potential carriers who access the UK at other airports or by ferry?