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'UK is ready to deal with Ebola outbreak'

EBOLA ALERT: The UK Border Agency has been warned to be aware of the symptoms of the disease

BRITAIN IS is fully prepared to cope with any case of Ebola entering the country, the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said - as he tries to reassure the public over the threat of an Ebola outbreak which has already killed over 700 people in West Africa.

Hammond chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra yesterday (July 30) to ensure that all precautionary measures necessary to prevent an outbreak in the UK have been taken.

However, the Foreign Secretary said that the virus was “not a significant risk to the UK”.

According to The Independent Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, who also attended the Cobra meeting along with England’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies, said that the risk of the disease “spreading fast” in the UK was low because of the expertise of NHS infectious disease specialists.

Fears that West Africa’s Ebola outbreak might spread to other countries around the world were heightened after it emerged that an American had died from the disease in the Nigerian capital Lagos, after travelling from Liberia – one of the worst-affected countries. Experts have warned that the virus could be spread further afield by infected people travelling by plane.

Despite Hammond's reassurance, Immigration Service Union (ISU) general secretary Lucy Moreton said UK border staff are "unprepared" and her members needed more information on the threat.

Talking to the BBC Moreton said her ISU members were "very concerned".

"They serve on the front line; they are the first point of contact usually for people coming off an aircraft and the concern is what do they do if they're confronted with someone that doesn't appear well who appears at the border," she said.

Moreton added: "There is no health facility at the border, there is no containment facility, and until extremely recently there has been no guidance issued to staff at all as to what they should do."

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