Ebola Talks At ACI Conference In Durban As Industry Leaders Converge
Ebola was placed under the spotlight in Durban as the 23rd Airports Council International (ACI) Africa Regional Assembly officially commenced yesterday. The conference is hosted this year by ACSA (Airports Company South Africa). The government representatives and airport leaders tabled the biggest outbreak of the Ebola virus to date onto their agenda.
Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Lydia, Sindisiwe Chikunga started her delivery by reiterating the South African government’s support of ACI members greatly affected and battling the virus as well as their commitment to reducing the spread across boarders.
As the outbreak has spread to country’s capitals, many fear that planes harbor the potential to be carriers of the virus. A number of airlines including Kenya Airways, British Airways, Air Côte d’Ivoire, Arik and Asky have discontinued air travel in and out of the region whilst many others greatly cut back on their flights.
Airlines play a huge part in helping to prevent the spread of the disease. “Germs have always traveled. The problem now is they can travel with the speed of a jet plane,” Howard Markel, a professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan, told the New York Times recently.
South African Measures To Prevent The Spread To Our Country
In August this year, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi stated that South Africa had issued a immediate travel ban on non-citizens from affected countries.
“A total travel ban for all non-citizens travelling from these high-risk countries (Guinea, Kenya and Sierra Leone), unless the travel is considered absolutely essential,” he stated.
He went on to state that, “For citizens of South Africa who wish to travel to these countries, they will be requested to delay their travel unless it is absolutely essential for them to travel.”
South Africans coming from such West African countries would be subjected to a strict screening process, and medically examined if need be.
The South African government is taking all necessary measures to prevent Ebola from spreading here. The government has set-up a national response team in case of an outbreak. Eleven hospitals have been designated as Ebola treatment centers and stringent screening measures are also being implemented at ports of entry.
The death toll from the outbreak has reached over 4000 in Western Africa. What are your thoughts on how South Africa has handled the crisis so far? Let us know in the comments below.