Kenya maintains flight ban to Ebola-hit West African nations

The Kenyan government will not lift a travel ban to West African countries affected by an outbreak of Ebola virus disease until the risk reduces to a manageable level, officials said Tuesday.

Nairobi: The Kenyan government will not lift a travel ban to West African countries affected by an outbreak of Ebola virus disease until the risk reduces to a manageable level, officials said Tuesday.

Director of Medical Services Nicholas Muraguri told journalists that Kenya remained vulnerable to Ebola transmission, and hence needed to intensify surveillance at ports of entry, Xinhua reported.

"The travel ban to Ebola-hit countries is temporal and since we are not convinced the risk levels are low, the ban will stay. However, we are closely monitoring the situation," Muraguri said in Nairobi during the regional ministerial meeting on preparedness and response to Ebola.

Senior policymakers from the East African region met Tuesday in Nairobi for a two-day conference to review interventions that have been rolled out to enhance Ebola response.

Kenya imposed a travel ban to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in August due to the severity of Ebola outbreak. Government officials clarified that the travel ban was subject to review.

Muraguri said state organs have carried out regular assessment of the Ebola outbreak to help inform lifting of the ban.

"We review the travel ban weekly, and so far there is no scientific evidence to demonstrate Ebola threat has subsided," said Muraguri.

Kenya has currently enlisted in regional and continental efforts to combat Ebola.

Muraguri noted that besides contributing $1 million to support the Ebola fight in West Africa, Kenya has also deployed health personnel and equipment to affected nations.

He added that Ebola surveillance at ports of entry has been strengthened to prevent entry of infected persons into the country.

"Meanwhile, we are not taking any chances and any suspected case is promptly acted upon through quarantine and testing. All patients with Ebola-like symptoms tested in our facilities have turned negative," Muraguri said.

The latest toll from Ebola outbreak released Friday by the World Health Organisation indicated that over 2,400 people had died out of 4,784 confirmed cases.

The meeting comes after Kenyans have expressed fears that health authorities are not thoroughly screening visitors from countries affected by Ebola.

The ministry said the Kenyan government has been closely monitoring the evolution of this outbreak in West Africa and assessing its risk to the country.

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