Tackling Ebola

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The Ebola virus is spreading out of Africa and into America and Europe. To prevent a pandemic, the world needs to act immediately and ban all flights to and from the infected countries until they are declared “clean”.

Australia has always had a policy that immigrants and visitors had to have a medical certificate showing a clean bill of health provided by a reputable medical organisation, and the applicants had to pay. Many years ago, when my wife and I were recruited to join a multinational organisation in Montreal, the Canadian authorities insisted we undergo chest X-rays, etc, before being given a visa.

Contrast this with the UK, which does not have controls but is now rushing to do so. This slackness allowed tuberculosis, which had been beaten, to return, and it affects about 9,000 people a year in Britain. The reason was lack of medical checks on immigration, especially from South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Now that a possible Ebola pandemic is in the offing, the UK needs to copy Australia and put strict medical controls in place to prevent it reaching our shores.