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Ebola screening begins at London Heathrow Airport

Ebola screening begins at London Heathrow Airport

Screening for the Ebola virus has begun at London Heathrow Airport, despite doubts over the effectiveness of such a programme.

Passengers arriving in the UK from high risk countries will be among the first to undergo the process.

Screening for Ebola - which has been most prevalent in western Africa - will start at Terminal 1, before being extended to other terminals, Gatwick airport and Eurostar by the end of the week.

Last month approximately 1,000 people arrived in the UK from the countries thought to be most at risk, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

A statement from London Heathrow Airport explained: “The welfare of our passengers and colleagues is always our main priority and we are working with government to support the implementation of the screening measures as announced by the Health Secretary.


“We would like to reassure passengers that the government assesses the risk of a traveller contracting Ebola to be low.

“We would encourage anybody with individual questions or concerns to refer to guidance from Public Health England and the Foreign Office.”

Nurses from Public Health England will assess passengers, checking temperatures, recording contact details and completing risk questionnaires.

The health secretary told MPs a “handful” of cases were expected to reach the UK before Christmas.

There are no direct flights to the UK from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, meaning passengers would have to connect elsewhere.

Concerns remain over the effectiveness of such a move in the UK.

Earlier this month the government said there were no plans for screening in the country, with the World Health Organisation also warning it was unnecessary and that it would mean screening many low-risk people.