SA steps up Ebola response teams

Cases have now reported in both the United States and Europe.

Health minister And generic ebola equipment pics ahead of briefing at Protea hotel near OR Tambo int. pictures: Reinart Toerien

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa has stepped up its response teams to deal with Ebola if necessary, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Friday.

He made the comments at a meeting held with various stakeholders and ambassadors from Liberia and Guinea.

Motsoaledi pledged support to fight the deadly virus ravaging West Africa.

More than 3,000 people have died since Ebola was first diagnosed this year with cases now reported in the United States and Europe.

The minister says the Multi-sectoral National Outbreak Response Team is now meeting more regularly to deal with Ebola worldwide.

Motsoaledi says surveillance for the viral haemorrhagic fever had increased.

Thermal scanners were set up at ports of entry and screening had been stepped up.

In the case of an outbreak in South Africa, 11 hospitals will deal with cases, the minister said.

South Africa also pledged to help West African countries with equipment and through a response fund.

Motsoaledi once again emphasised that South Africa remains Ebola-free.

He says there's no need for panic as South Africa is more than ready to deal with Ebola.

The minister says while there have been some scares, patients who have displayed symptoms of fever and bleeding have all so far tested negative.

Motsoaledi says a ministerial advisory committee has been set up to ensure healthcare workers are prepared to deal with an outbreak should one happen here.

African National Congress stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela attended Friday's meeting.

She is representing some of the donors who are organising mobile clinics for affected countries.