Netanyahu Holds A Special Hearing to Discuss Ebola

In a meeting discussing Ebola prevention, a decision was made to question travelers arriving from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

Cynthia Blank ,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened a special hearing at his office Sunday morning, on the subject of the spread of the Ebola virus. This meeting, following another discussion last week, aims to examine the progress made by state authorities in the case an Ebola-stricken individual arrives in Israel. 

The hearing was attended by representatives of the Ministries of Health, Transportation, Interior, Foreign Affairs and Justice, as well as the Israel Airports Authority, Israeli Police and the Israeli Defense Forces. The representatives have decided to focus attention on prevention. The plan is to question passengers arriving in Israel, at all border crossings, particularly those arriving from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - centers where the deadly epidemic has spread quickly. 

"Israel is prepared to prevent the entry of Ebola patients into our borders as part of the sustained effort we are making to protect the borders," Netanyahu said during the meeting, Walla! reported.

"This is a global epidemic and we are cooperating with other countries. If Ebola patients do arrive within our borders, we are taking a number of steps to isolate patients, and of course to take care of them through our health system. We hope there will be no need for it, but we are prepared for any eventuality." 

Ben Gurion Airport manager Shmuel Zakai, who attended the hearing, said: "We are spreading a wide net at all border crossings to prevent the entry of passengers infected with Ebola." 

Health Ministry Director, Prof. Arnon Afek, noted that the health care system is carefully watching the spread of Ebola and is in contact with others experts throughout the world. "We are constantly improving our health system and our level of preparedness to address anyone with Ebola who may enter Israel."

The internal meeting came just 24 hours after a meeting with the Palestinian Authority (PA) to discuss ways of battling the epidemic. 

The preventive measures against the Ebola outbreak which Netanyahu announced this morning, join measures taken in other Western countries around the world.

Five airports in the United States - Kennedy Airport in New York, Newark, Washington Dulles Airport, Atlanta Airport, and Chicago O'Hare - are now carrying out health inspections and ordering arriving passengers to fill out a medical questionnaire created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Growing concern in Europe has also led to new preventive measure. After the death of a British citizen in Macedonia from Ebola, Britain has taken new precautions. Heathrow and Gatwick airports, as well as Eurostar train terminals, will begin questioning and tests for passengers arriving from heavily infected areas. 

Last Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the number of people who have died from the Ebola virus is 4,033 . According to the data, 8,376 people have become infected by the disease raging in in West Africa. Nearly half of them died - mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The latest figures also include Thomas Duncan, a citizen of Liberia diagnosed with Ebola on United States soil, where he died Wednesday.



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