People should be tested for Ebola on leaving Africa not arriving in the UK says expert

Expert says UK troops being sent to Sierra Leone should be tasked with screening everyone leaving Freetown by land or sea and it should be trated liked a biological weapon.

The Mirror

British troops should carry out Ebola screening on people flying OUT of West Africa, a top military expert believes.

The stark warning came as the first checks on people arriving at Heathrow were yesterday branded "a joke" .

One of the first passengers to be  screened for Ebola said he was only handed a questionnaire and tested after voluntarily telling them that he had arrived from Liberia.

As fears grew that the killer disease will continue to spread across Europe Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former head of the Army's chemical and biological weapons, said the only way to contain the killer bug is to test everyone as they try to LEAVE the affected countries instead of as they arrive in others.

Mr de Bretton-Gordon, who now runs SecureBio, says the UK troops being sent to Sierra Leone should be tasked with screening everyone leaving Freetown by land or sea.

He said: "We have to rigorously enforce a quarantine in West Africa or we are not going to get this under control."

He warns that screening once passengers arrive in the UK is too late, adding: "We should approach Ebola as though it's a biological weapon."

Public Health England claimed passengers who boarded an indirect flight to the UK from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone would be automatically flagged at passport control.

But Sorious Samura, 51, had to volunteer to be checked at Heathrow T1 yesterday after arriving via Brussels. He had spent 10 days in Liberia making a film about Ebola.

"Most of the people who had been on our flight didn't go into the screening room," he said. "I only went because I felt a sense of responsibility, having seen the effect of Ebola where I've been. The official even shook our hands. That's something nobody does now in Liberia."

The World Health Organisation said the death toll had reached 4,447 out of 8,914 reported cases. A UN worker died in Germany yesterday after contracting the virus working as part of a medical team in Liberia.

The checks are expected to be extended next week and will cost £9million over the next six months.

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