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EU to discuss Ebola screening of travellers

Officials say talks are designed to co-ordinate action taken by member states to fight the virus.

FILE: Liberian nurses carry the body of a suspected victim of Ebola at the Sonuwein community in Monrovia, Liberia, 3 October 2014. Picture: EPA/Ahmed Jallanzo

JOHANNESBURG - The European Union (EU) has called a meeting of health ministers to discuss the possible screening of travellers from Ebola-hit West African countries.

Officials say talks are designed to co-ordinate action taken by member states to fight the virus.

Britain is the only European nation so far to introduce Ebola screening at its major airports and even on Eurostar trains arriving from France and Belgium.

"Enhanced screening will initially be implemented at London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Eurostar terminals," a statement from Prime Minister David Cameron's office said on Thursday.

Last week, the United States and Canada also announced new screening measures at major airports.

John F Kennedy Airport is the first of five US airports to start enhanced screening of US-bound travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Those countries have seen most of the deaths from the outbreak, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives.

A second nurse has contracted Ebola in the US prompting calls for a wider response. The woman contracted Ebola while treating Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan who died at a Dallas hospital last week.

While South Africa remains Ebola free, government has placed special emphasis on airports by stepping up preventative measures specifically at OR Tambo International Airport and Lanseria Airport.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi last week said the virus is likely to reach South Africa through one of the main airports in Gauteng.