The world is holding its breath over the continuing outbreak of the Ebola virus, and with travel alerts issued, flights suspended and airports enforcing quarantine checks, here are a few things Australians should know before jumping on the plane.
Don’t panic. Your chances of coming into contact with the Ebola virus are extremely low if you’re travelling outside of Africa. There have been only three confirmed cases outside Africa so far – two have worked together as carers for Ebola sufferers, and the third was a woman who cared for one of the carers.
Be wise about your travel destination. Travel alerts have been issued for parts of West Africa, with some carriers indefinitely suspending flights to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and many land borders have been closed. Avoiding these areas is the best course of action to guard yourself against contact with Ebola.
Know the procedures. Airports everywhere are doing their part to stop the Ebola virus from spreading. Heathrow and Gatwick airports in the UK and US airports, JFK, Dulles, O’Hare, Hartsfield-Jackson and Newark Liberty international airports have implemented screening programs against Ebola. People travelling to these airports from West Africa will face screening for symptoms.
Many other international airports which have direct flights from the affected regions, or which are significant air travel ports, have also implemented health screenings. Travellers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will need to complete a questionnaire with medical staff about their travel history and upcoming travel plans when they arrive land in the UK. Travellers who show signs of fever may be detained in quarantine, so if you’re unwell, but planning on travelling, you might want to factor in a possible delay.
Train passengers on Eurostar from Paris and Brussels, arriving in London, will also be screened for their body temperature, to check for early fever symptoms.
The bottom line when travelling is to take reasonable precautions, avoid travel to affected areas, and be patient and accommodating at airports where officials are conducting tests.