Israeli Fight Against Ebola Hits High Seas

Disease containment procedures instituted at Israel's ports, to stop the epidemic from reaching the Jewish state before it starts.

Tova Dvorin ,

Haifa port
Haifa port
Reuters

The fight against Ebola has hit the high seas, Walla! News reports Tuesday - as Israeli ports have been advised to screen all passengers arriving in the Holy Land.

Ports in Haifa and Ashdod will now screen all arriving passengers for signs of the Ebola virus, including vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding, or fever above 38 C (100.4 F).

In addition, every passenger must declare whether or not they have visited West Africa within the last 21 days. Passengers who refuse to submit to screenings will be obligated, instead, to bring documentation proving their full health from a medical provider in their home country upon arrival.

Yigal Maor, head of the Maritime Administration of Transport, stated that the decision is simply a matter of public health.

"In light of the spread of the epidemic of Ebola in the world and at the request of the Ministry of Health, we were requested to heighten our vigilance, and institute procedures according to which each ship and yacht coming to Israel, must report when they are approaching Israel's territorial waters, if a passenger on board is experiencing a symptom or symptoms that may indicate the development of Ebola," Maor said. 

If one of the passengers who has visited one of the countries in Africa which has fallen to the Ebola epidemic within the past 21 days, the vessel will be flagged and the Ministry of Health will be alerted. The Ministry will then decide whether the vessel could enter Israel's territorial waters. If not, it will be kept at a distance and will not be allowed to dock at Israeli ports. 

Ebola has already infected at 10,000 people and killed over 4,500 in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported early Sunday morning. So far, it has hit Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain and the United States. 

WHO reported earlier this month that with unofficial figures included, the disease is showing a 70% rate of mortality, much higher than its traditional 50% rate.

Israel has been readying itself for the possibility of the epidemic arriving on its soil in other ways throughout the past several weeks, and conducted an "Ebola preparedness drill" in Ben-Gurion airport earlier this month.




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