France `on alert` as Ebola prevention stepped up

France announced on Friday it had appointed a team of experts to step up its response to the Ebola virus, and would boost efforts to help west African nations battling the disease.

AFP| Updated: Oct 17, 2014, 15:53 PM IST

Paris: France announced on Friday it had appointed a team of experts to step up its response to the Ebola virus, and would boost efforts to help west African nations battling the disease.

Despite several scares over suspect cases as the virus spreads further afield, Prime Minister Manuel Valls assured that no Ebola cases had been confirmed in France.

"The health system is on alert to rapidly detect and take care of any person affected by Ebola," he said in a statement.

France will on Saturday start carrying out health checks on travellers arriving from Guinea, one of the worst-hit nations alongside Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The country joins Britain, the United States and Canada in screening travellers for the disease.

The deadly virus has infected nurses in the United States and Spain who treated ill patients arriving from west Africa, where the bulk of the 4,500 deaths from Ebola have taken place.

"Given the scale of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, France has decided to strengthen its international and national response," Valls said.

He named Jean-Francois Delfraissy, director of the national AIDS research agency, as coordinator of all international and national response operations, who will work with three other experts.

"Internationally France will do everything to help African countries confronted with Ebola, in particular Guinea," said Valls.

He said France will increase assistance to Guinea where it is already helping build treatment centres, and has also deployed technical experts.