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Ebola scare at Piarco airport

Friday, August 8 2014

THERE was an ebola scare yesterday at Piarco International Airport yesterday with health services officials taking away a Nigerian-born passenger on a British Airways (BA) flight for tests while other passengers were not allowed to disembark the airline.

In the end, the Nigerian national was given a clean bill of health and he and other passengers were allowed to leave the airline. Newsday understands BA flight 2159 departed from Gatwick Airport in London, stopped off in Barbados and arrived yesterday at 4 pm at Piarco International Airport.

However, before the flight even landed, airport officials received an alert from Caricom’s Joint Regional Communication Centre (JRCC) based in Barbados about the suspicious passenger on board the BA flight from Barbados.

When the aircraft landed, Newsday was told, the Nigerian national, who is a doctor, was taken away for an assessment. Contacted for comment, Director General of Civil Aviation, Ramesh Lutchmedial said rumours of an ebola scare at the airport were just that — rumours.

“Those rumours are false and you can quote me on that. The man was inspected by a doctor and he was cleared,” Lutchmedial said. He confirmed that the passenger was isolated and measures taken to ensure the passenger was not a carrier of the virus.

It was learnt that he was a Nigerian doctor living in London, and who had not returned to his homeland in years. When contacted yesterday Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said he was “out of the country” and could not comment.

The minister has assured that the country was prepared for persons returning from countries with the deadly virus.

The Ebola virus belongs to a family of viruses that causes haemorrhagic fever and has a mortality rate of up to 90 percent.

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