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UK relaxes Ebola screening measures

BBC                                                             July 23, 2015

LONDON --The screening measures put into place to prevent Ebola arriving in the UK are being relaxed.

The UK carried out emergency exercises to plan for what would happen if a case arrived

Public Health England said there will no longer be specialist staff based at Birmingham and Manchester airports or at the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras.

It said the threat was now "significantly lower" as the situation improved in West Africa.

The measures at Heathrow and Gatwick, the two main routes of entry from the affected countries, remain in place.

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Liberians still face travel headaches, stigma abroad even after country declared Ebola-free

ASSOCIATED PRESS By KRISTA LARSON                   June 19, 2015

DAKAR  Senegal  — Robtel Neajai Pailey hadn't been back home to Liberia since Ebola engulfed the country's capital in July, fearful that doing so could make it harder for her to travel as countries around the globe clamped down on visitors with West African passports.

So it was a mix of shock and anger earlier this month when she couldn't get a visa to attend an important meeting in the United Arab Emirates that had been months in the making.

It didn't matter that she had not even been in Liberia during the epidemic. Nor did it matter that Liberia was declared Ebola-free more than a month ago.

"It's not just affecting people who are in the country — it's all of us who have Liberian passports," said Pailey, an academic, activist and author who is based at SOAS, University of London.

The World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free in early May. Still, fear of the deadly disease still reigns in many places, causing students to miss out on scholarships abroad, and keeping relatives from attending weddings and funerals.
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Ebola showed aid delivery desperately needs an overhaul

REUTERS  by Stella Dawson                                                          JUNE 18, 2015

WASHINGTON -- The Ebola epidemic exposed long-standing holes in aid delivery,  which desperately needs an overhaul before the next international emergency hits, aid experts said on Thursday.

Supplies for the Ebola zone in West Africa wait to be loaded at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Many of the shortcomings seen during the Haiti earthquake of slow responses and uncoordinated relief efforts were repeated during the Ebola crisis that erupted in West Africa a year ago, they said.

With Sierra Leone and Guinea continuing to report cases of the deadly virus, the international community must act urgently, said Carolyn Reynolds, external relations manager at the World Bank.

"We need to think outside the box," she said at a panel on global health preparedness held on Capitol Hill.

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Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in Nigeria: Transmission Dynamics and Rapid Control - Epidemics. 2015 Jun;11:80-4. doi: 10.1016/j.epidem.2015.03.001. Epub 2015 Mar 21


International air travel has already spread Ebola virus disease (EVD) to major cities as part of the unprecedented epidemic that started in Guinea in December 2013. An infected airline passenger arrived in Nigeria on July 20, 2014 and caused an outbreak in Lagos and then Port Harcourt. After a total of 20 reported cases, including 8 deaths, Nigeria was declared EVD free on October 20, 2014. We quantified the impact of early control measures in preventing further spread of EVD in Nigeria and calculated the risk that a single undetected case will cause a new outbreak. We fitted an EVD transmission model to data from the outbreak in Nigeria and estimated the reproduction number of the index case at 9.0 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.2-15.6). We also found that the net reproduction number fell below unity 15 days (95% CI: 11-21 days) after the arrival of the index case. Hence, our study illustrates the time window for successful containment of EVD outbreaks caused by infected air travelers.


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Who controls Nepal's helicopters?

FOREIGN POLICY   by Freddie Wilson                                                         May 2, 2015
The country has just a handful of private helicopters, which are crucial to earthquake rescue operations. But are foreign trekkers the only ones who’ve benefitted?
In the wake of the earthquake, it became immediately clear that choppers would be crucial to lifesaving rescue operations. Landslides have besieged Nepal, wrecking many sections of its already tenuous road system. People are trapped in remote villages — or what remain of them — while supplies are bottlenecked at the Tribhuvan International Airport, in Kathmandu. “The planning over many years seems to have failed to take account of the fact that hard to reach places — most of those badly hit — would remain hard to reach, after the quake,” wrote John Bevan, who has worked with the U.N. in Nepal and Haiti, in an email from Kathmandu.

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Logistics - Kathmandu Airport - Nepal

Olivier Brandner, left, loads supplies into MSF's mobile storage unit at the airport's Humanitarian Forwarding Area.
Photo: Obi Anyadike/IRIN - by Obinna Anyadike
May 1, 2015
Regarding the logistics hub at Kathmandu's airport, the procedure for requesting storage space is online and simple, and even easier if you are an agency or NGO registered with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a discreet vetting.
Input the details of your cargo, tonnage, and whether transport is required (WFP can provide inland delivery) - and then submit the form. Once WFP confirms it can accept the consignment, it takes over.
There is no concern of supplies stacking up in the forwarding area, uncollected. “This is an emergency, people want to get it out as soon as possible,” Beaumont said.
Inside the logistics hub at Kathmandu's airport
Nepal - Logistics Cluster
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Africa tourism acts to shake off Ebola stigma

AFP  by Marie Julie                                                                                                        March 7, 2015
Berlin - - The impact of the deadly Ebola virus fell mainly on three African countries but tourism has taken a hit across the continent of more than 50 nations as fear has kept many visitors away, tourism chiefs say.

Visitors pass by a poster of flight route information at the 49th International Tourism Fair (ITB Berlin 2015) in Berlin on March 4, 2015 (AFP Photo/Tobias Schwarz)

Some 56 million tourists visited Africa in 2014, a two-percent rise from the previous year, according to UNWTO figures, but growth in Africa lagged behind that in Europe, Asia or the Americas.

Africa had seen a robust 4.8-percent increase in tourists a year earlier.

"Africa... did well (last year) in spite of suffering from the Ebola symptoms which were associated unfairly" with Africa as a whole, Taleb Rifai, head of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said at the Berlin tourism fair (ITB).

He said Africa needed support, especially after the Ebola crisis, adding: "It was very unfair the generalisation that happened."

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Ebola crisis: Liberia to open borders as infection falls


 BBC NEWS                                                                                                         Feb. 20, 2015

Liberia is to reopen its borders following a reduction in the number of Ebola cases being reported in the country.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made the announcement on Friday and said nationwide curfews would also be lifted.

New infections have dropped to one-tenth of the level seen when the virus was at its peak.

But health officials warned the decline has levelled off in the last month.

Dr Bruce Aylward, who leads the World Health Organization's official Ebola response, said data showed the steep decrease in infections had now flattened, at a rate of around 120 to 150 new cases a week.

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UK should resume flights to Ebola-hit nations: parliamentary watchdog

REUTERS   by  Katie Nguyen                                                                                       Feb. 11, 2015

LONDON - Britain's decision to stop direct flights to Ebola-hit countries had "no scientific justification", probably increased the cost of dealing with the outbreak and should be reversed, a parliamentary watchdog said on Wednesday.

Several airlines including British Airways and Emirates stopped flights last year to countries in West Africa affected by the worst outbreak of Ebola since the deadly virus was identified in 1976.

In September, independent health advisers to the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that there should be no general ban on travel or trade with Ebola-affected areas....

The committee also criticized the Department for International Development (DFID) for failing to respond to the crisis with enough urgency. It said DFID should focus on strengthening healthcare systems in the region so they could cope better with future public health emergencies.
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Ebola: Sierra Leone Officials Criticize Travel Relaxation

ASSOCIATED PRESS BY CLARENCE ROY-MACAULAY                                                           Feb. 3, 2015

FREETOWN  --Although Ebola cases are declining in West Africa, Sierra Leone officials are worried that the president's decision to lift travel restrictions may re-ignite the spread of the deadly disease.

President Ernest Bai Koroma two weeks ago announced a relaxation of travel restrictions to support economic activity. Some officials agreed that the closure of roads hurt the economy. Others felt it was too soon.

"It was slightly too early," Freetown Mayor Franklyn Bode Gibson said Tuesday. "We do not know who is safe and who is not," and a second outbreak of the disease would be distrastrous. Gibson saidhe will call for a meeting this week with the National Ebola Response Center to register his disappointment about the re-opening of district roads.

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