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Ebola: SA bans travel to and from high risk countries

The government has banned travel between South Africa and ‘high risk’ countries to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus to the country.

The South African government has banned travel to and from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in an effort to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus to the country. 

More than 400 people have died from the Ebola virus in Liberia, out of a total of 1 ‘145 deaths recorded in West Africa by the World Health Organisation since March. 

In a press release the health department issued this afternoon, the department announced that “non-citizens [non-South Africans]” would not be allowed to travel to South African from these “high risk countries”, unless the travel is “considered absolutely essential”.  

South African citizens who would like to travel to these countries will be “requested to delay their travel unless it is also absolutely essential”.  

South African citizens returning from these countries will be subjected to a “stricter screening process” that includes “completing a comprehensive health questionnaire before being [allows] entry back into the country. 

“If the comprehensive medical questionnaire and the temperature screening reveal something, they will have to subject themselves to a complete medical examination,” the statement said. 

Meanwhile, cabinet also accepted a South African Development Community decision that South Africa be a centre of excellence for training, laboratory diagnosis and clinical expertise.

Cabinet has established an inter-ministerial committee to deal with the co-ordination of the country’s response to Ebola. 

Cabinet approved R32.5-million requested by the health department from the African Renaissance Fund to “support containment and prevent further spread of the virus to South Africa and other countries”.  

Part of the funds will be used to “deploy the mobile laboratory in Sierra Leone, fund transport and accommodation for the team and training for health care workers”.

Mia Malan is the founder and editor-in-chief of Bhekisisa. She has worked in newsrooms in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Washington, DC, winning more than 30 awards for her radio, print and television work.