Ebola: Is the UAE at risk?
‘Dubai airports monitoring the situation closely’
August 6, 2014 2:51 by kippreport
Dubai is possibly under threat from fatal Ebola virus, if proper screening processes are not in place for passengers going into or coming from western and central Africa.
Kippreport approached Dubai Airports (DA) to get insights on the matter. “Dubai Airports is monitoring the situation closely and is in contact with local health authorities,” says the spokesperson.
The risks are higher as Dubai International Airport is the third busiest in the world, and is also the aviation hub of the Middle East that connects Asia, Africa and the region.
British Airways was the second airline after Emirates to suspend flights to West Africa. BA has suspended its services to Sierra Leone, while Emirates stopped its Guinea services.
Up until this point, it was not a cause for immediate concern in the region; however, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MoH) has reported a suspected case of Ebola this past Tuesday (August 5).
According the Saudi MoH, the patient is a male in his forties and is currently undergoing tests in a hospital in Jeddah. He has recently returned from a trip to Sierra Leone, where Ebola cases are on the rise.
If travelling from West African countries can be isolated as the primary cause for the spread of this virus, Dubai residents would want to know why screening measures are not yet visible at airports in the region.
While it is perfectly comprehensible not to spark widespread panic, it is of the utmost importance to take preventive measures at this stage to ensure the safety of the residents of the city, in addition to containing the scope of the breakout.
To put this risk in perspective, Dubai received 29.6 million passengers during the first five months of the year while London’s Heathrow reported 28.47 million passengers for the same period as per the data released by both airports’ operators.
The killer virus has taken evolved, and contrary to the earlier understanding that Ebola can only be transferred through fluids, Canadian researchers, in 2012, concluded that the virus may have mutated to spread between species, through the air. This is a possible explanation as to why the current outbreak is the worst in recorded history.
Mainstream media have been reporting heavily on an Ebola breakout throughout this past month in West Africa, but it seems the previous reports have underestimated the seriousness of the issue.
The current outburst of the killer virus began in Guinea in March this year, and has already claimed approximately 900 lives.