Dubai, Abu Dhabi airports geared to deal with Ebola threat: Officials

Dubai and Abu Dhabi Airports have put protocols in place as the threat of Ebola spreads even as the five passengers that were quarantined on Monday aboard a Dubai-Boston flight for showing ‘flu-like’ symptoms were declared Ebola-free.

Five US airports, along with UK’s London Heathrow, have stepped up measures for screening passengers flying from West African countries. Dubai Airports, however, have said they have no plans of doing the same, but confirmed that they are in contact with authorities to handle any situation.

In a statement to Emirates 24|7, a spokesperson from Dubai Airports said: “We continue to monitor the situation closely and maintain ongoing contact with UAE health authorities and the General Civil Aviation Authority who, along with the World Health Organisation, are the governing authorities/regulators and experts in this area.

“As per their instructions/recommendations we do not have any screening measures in place.”

The spokesperson continued: “We do have the resources and protocols in place to deal with any situation where a passenger may display symptoms while in the airport.”

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Airport Company has also reiterated it has a precedent in place to ensure the safety of passengers travelling through the airports.

A spokesperson said: “Abu Dhabi International Airport has procedures and protocols in place as per by the guidelines of Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and we are closely working with them to monitor development and activate the needed protocols, at the moment all screening and operations remains normal.”

The US is on high alert after three separate incidences were reported on commercial flights across the country this past week, with five airports, including New York’s JFK, Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare and Atlanta international airports, all employing enhanced Ebola screenings from this week.

The latest was an Emirates flight on October 13, which saw five passengers detained on the Dubai-Boston flight for having flu-like symptoms. However, the Center for Disease Control in the US cleared the five of Ebola, according to Reuters.

The decision to screen travellers entering the US was announced last week following the death of the first person with a case of Ebola in the country; the patient, Thomas E Duncan, travelled to Dallas from Liberia.

While the UK has also followed in wake of US procedures, other European countries, including France, are also considering starting a screening process for passengers arriving on flights from the West African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak.

According to latest figures released by the WHO, the death toll for the Ebola virus disease in West Africa has now passed 4,000, with the total number of cases exceeding 8,000. As of October 10, the total number of victims in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is 4,024.