Thursday, 9 October 2014

Alarming Ebola... Are we ready?

I have just rather worrying left a Liberal Democrat MP stuttering somewhat on National radio, having given a very unreassuringly poor answer with regard to a concern I have about the preparedness we currently have for the Ebola virus.

The Government are going to implement health checks on people flying in on long-haul flights from Africa. But only at Gatwick and Heathrow airport.
Those flights in particular are the most expensive flights richer people from more developed and less heavily infected areas are going to fly in from.

One simple example.
Liberia has been hit by 3924 cases of Ebola, of which 2210 have died. (Ref.)
I have done a very simple check on flights from Liberia and as I highlighted you can get a connecting flight to London City Airport (not being covered by health checks) from Amsterdam (Holland) from Monrovia Roberts International Airport in Liberia:
 
I studied Travel and Tourism at a Vocational level for over 3 years and the one thing I know is that poorer people tend to get flights from Africa to Europe to locations such as Germany, France, Holand, Spain and Italy and then get connecting short-haul flights to the UK.

In other words poorer people who are more likely to have been infected with the virus will come in via the smaller airports such as Stansted, London City Airport, Bournemouth, Southampton etc than Heathrow and Gatwick.

The Liberal Democrat MP who I just spoke to on National radio just said something along the lines of "we can't roll out these health-checks over night, they need to be done in good time".
Now whilst that is true, they have also had plenty of time to prepare for this eventuality being a possibility.

The First Recorded Case and death took place in Sierra Leone on the 26 of May, that was 5 months ago! How can people say their was no warning?!

Regardless haven't we been preparing for the possibility of biological warfare and terrorism for the last 60 years?!

The simple fact is our Government has once again been caught with its pants down, completely unprepared to take action to protect the people who elected them.
As soon as it was announced that people were getting infected by Ebola in Africa we should have been making preparations to start checking people coming from the continent at airports and railway stations.
LBC had a medical expert on the radio saying that transmission of the virus is via the "eyes, open sores, sexual contact and faeces/saliva etc..." so transmission isn't as easy as a more progressed virus, however the fact it has spread so dramatically in a less densely populated country than the UK shows the transmission is alarmingly high. The mortality right is especially alarming!

So I leave you with this thought;
If one case does make it into London, one of the most densely populated capital cities in the country, which only has 2 quarantine centers by the way, how quickly will the disease multiply?
God forbid it goes airborne!

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