Boris Johnson has said he has “little doubt” that the deadly Ebola virus will come to the UK, and “probably” to London.
Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, the Mayor of London claimed the capital has “fantastic preparation” for cases of the virus, but admitted the current screening process in place at UK airports is “far from perfect”.
When asked if the UK should implement heat screening technology, which is being used in US airports to test the temperature of people’s blood for signs of a fever, Mr Johnson said: “We can’t go on blood temperature measures alone because you could, after all, be in the early stated of incubation of the virus and have two or three weeks to run.”
See the Ebola outbreak mapped
See the Ebola outbreak mapped
1/7 25 March 2014
This outbreak of the Ebola virus first emerged in the Guéckédou region of Guinea, at a crossroads with both Liberia and Sierra Leone
2/7 31 March
On 31 March the WHO confirmed the outbreak was now international, spreading first into Liberia's northern-most Lofa region
3/7 27 May
The virus spread to Sierra Leone at the end of May - just as agencies were hoping the worst was over
4/7 27 July
In Sierra Leone the virus boomed, and then it spread to Nigeria when the Liberian diplomat Patrick Sawyer flew from Monrovia to Lagos
5/7 9 August
The Nigeria cases sparked fears around the world, and there have now been deaths in Spain and Saudi Arabia involving people who had travelled to West Africa. The numbers of cases continue to rise
6/7 17-20 September
In mid-September, Senegal confirmed its first case linked to the Ebola outbreak, a development the WHO described as a top priority emergency. Numbers of cases continued to grow exponentially in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, as experts warned they could number one million by January if not contained
7/7 8 October
Two cases of Ebola have now been reported in the US and Europe - the first times the virus has been contracted among health workers outside Africa
He added that it was not possible to blood test everybody coming into the country, but that people coming from the affected areas of West Africa should be “properly screened”.
Mayor Johnson said: “The idea of screening at airports is far from perfect as a solution, but what you need to do is make sure that people coming from the effected countries are properly screened, properly tested when they leave, and shouldn’t be allowed to leave if they’ve been in contact with people in one of the affected areas.
“I have little doubt that eventually there will be a case of Ebola in this country and probably in this city,” he added.
The UK’s chief medical officer has already warned Britain should expect “a handful” of Ebola cases in the next few months.
His comments came on the day that doctors, nurses, paramedics, and actors posing as patients with the virus took part in a simulation of an Ebola outbreak, ordered by David Cameron, to test the readiness of the NHS to deal with the deadly virus.
David Cameron defended his decision to implement “enhanced screening” at major UK airports last week, saying it had been taken on “medical advice”, while experts criticised the move as “a complete waste of time”.
The Prime Minister’s announcement followed confusion over whether the Government would introduce the process at airports, amid conflicting messages from Chancellor George Osborne, the Department of Health, and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.
Mr Cameron said on Thursday: "We are taking all the steps we can to keep our own people safe here in the UK.
"What we do is listen to medical advice and we act on that advice, and that's why we are introducing the screening processes at the appropriate ports and airports."Reuse content