Watchful UAE is free of Ebola virus

The implementation of measures suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO), meant there had not been a recorded case of Ebola in the UAE thus far, said the Ministry of Health.

A Nigerian health official uses a thermometer to screen a person at the arrival hall of the international airport in Lagos, Nigeria. Etihad Airways is closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Sunday Alamba / AP Photo
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ABU DHABI // The UAE remains free of the deadly Ebola virus thanks to preventive measures the country has taken, according to the Ministry of Health.

There has yet to be a case of Ebola infection in the UAE, which is working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to fight the disease, which has killed at least 961 people in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria.

The ministry said national institutions were working together to fight the threat that Ebola posed, and they were staying in close contact with the WHO to keep abreast of the latest developments.

On Friday, an emergency committee convened by the director general of the WHO issued an international advisory, saying there should not be a general ban on international travel or trade.

It said all countries should provide travellers with information on the health risks, the measures to minimise them, and advice on managing potential exposure to the disease.

The committee said countries should be prepared to detect, investigate and manage Ebola cases, and provide access to diagnostic laboratories.

The Ministry of Health said it had enacted the procedures necessary to protect the UAE from the Ebola pandemic and was well prepared to deal with any such outbreak in the country.

Dr Asim Malik, Mafraq Hospital’s head of infectious diseases, said healthcare workers were taking all due precautions and that the authorities were being vigilant.

Residents with questions about Ebola could seek answers from institutions such as the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi or Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, he said.

“Washing your hands and maintaining hygiene are also recommended,” said Dr Malik.

Last week, The National reported that Emirates Airline had suspended its flights to Conakry, the capital of Guinea, where the Ebola outbreak has killed at least 367 people since March.

The airline said it had no immediate plan to suspend further flights. It said flights to Conakry would remain suspended indefinitely.

Etihad Airways said it was closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. It continues to operate its daily flights to and from Nigeria, and is in contact with medical authorities in the region and around the world regarding the potential risks.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, West African countries reported 68 new cases of Ebola infections and 29 deaths.

On Monday, the WHO will convene a panel of experts on medical ethics to consider the use of experimental treatments to combat the Ebola threat. With a fatality rate of about 90 per cent, Ebola is one of the most virulent diseases in the world.

The virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood, body fluids or tissues of infected people or animals.