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NEWS Last modified on October 14, 2014

ACI Europe says airports support EU co-ordinated response on Ebola

European gateways support an EU co-ordinated response on Ebola, according to airport trade association ACI Europe.

The ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has raised public concerns about its potential spread and an evolving array of national responses in Europe, and ACI Europe has underlined its support for urgent co-ordination between health authorities at EU level.

It explains that such co-ordination should involve clear and unequivocal communication of risk assessment as regards to the possible spread of the virus in Europe.

This is what the public in particular air passengers expect, ACI Europe says, and what is “needed to allay any unreasonable fear and avoid inefficient measures”.

ACI Europe notes the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control (ECDC) have expressed reservations about the effectiveness of temperature screening of passengers on arrival, which has been implemented in the US & Canada and is apparently being contemplated by some EU countries.

And it adds conversely, that both organisations support exit screening of departing passengers, which began at airports in the three main affected African countries, in the last two months.

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Olivier Jankovec, director general, ACI Europe, comments: “Health security is paramount and we trust that in their meeting later this week, health ministers will ensure that actions are properly thought through and fully co-ordinated across Europe and beyond.

“Otherwise, we risk ending up with an inefficient patchwork of measures, with negative implications for passengers and airport operations – for an unspecified period of time and with no guarantee of success.”

He adds: “A clear, efficient and fully coordinated response at EU level is the way forward. Europe’s airports support a dual approach: 1. Supporting efforts to contain & eradicate the virus at source and 2. Communicating effectively to the public the measures that are being put in place and what they need to do, to play their part and stay safe.”

More than 36,000 people have been subject to exit screening, and 77 were denied boarding because of health concerns, but none of them had Ebola.

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