Following the United States’ move to screen airport passengers across five major airport, the UK has instituted a similar move but critics blame their procedure for an effective Ebola detection at airports. The US is using thermal gun to test for passengers’ temperatures at airports as they arrive US soil from the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, but the UK is only using a questionnaire to ask questions from airport passengers without anything more – and this is what critics have a problem with.
The UK government is starting airport screening at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Eurostar airports, and this screening is becoming all the more important when a 58 year unnamed British nurse died in a Skodje hotel within days of arriving Macedonia. The British national alongside his friend at lodged at the 3-star Hotel Super 8 in Skodje, Macedonia, and when he started developing symptoms similar to Ebola, he was rushed to a hospital where he reportedly died within a few hours. The hospital management said the patient had been “unresponsive” when he was rushed in.
Although the dead nurse’s friend has been quarantined and being monitored for Ebola, with the whole hotel quarantined and Macedonian police guards placed outside the hotel’s entrance to secure it – it is now obvious that the dead nurse must have contracted Ebola within the UK even though he never showed symptoms until he got to Macedonia. The man was never known to have gone to any West African countries and he must have gotten infected with Ebola within the UK – further heightening tensions over Ebola within the UK.
The Ebola screening in UK airports “will involve assessing passengers’ recent travel history, who they have been in contact with and onward travel arrangements as well as a possible medical assessment, conducted by trained medical personnel rather than Border Force staff.” But critics dismiss this as insufficient because passengers could easily lie on their questionnaires to avoid detection. The point is this, using questionnaires alone is not enough because almost all passengers could lie about their travel history and everything inbetween how they feel and their current health status.