France to carry out Ebola checks at airports

A health worker scans passengers with a thermal imaging camera upon their arrival at the Alexander the Great airport near Macedonia's capital Skopje on Oct 10, 2014. France announced on Wednesday it would begin carrying out health checks on trav
A health worker scans passengers with a thermal imaging camera upon their arrival at the Alexander the Great airport near Macedonia's capital Skopje on Oct 10, 2014. France announced on Wednesday it would begin carrying out health checks on travellers arriving by plane from Ebola-hit nations. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - France announced on Wednesday it would begin carrying out health checks on travellers arriving by plane from Ebola-hit nations.

"France will put in place a system of controls for planes arriving from the zone affected by the virus," the presidency said in a statement.

The announcement was made after President Francois Hollande held a video conference with US counterpart Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian premier Matteo Renzi to discuss the virus.

France joins Britain, the United States and Canada in carrying out passenger screenings, as the United Nations warned Ebola was outpacing efforts to combat the disease.

The French statement did not say whether checks would be carried out only on planes from west Africa, as more cases crop up elsewhere.

The prime minister of the Czech Republic, Bohuslav Sobotka, announced on Wednesday that screening through questionnaires would also begin at Prague airport of passengers from at-risk nations.

The worst Ebola outbreak on record of has claimed 4,493 lives, out of 8,997 recorded cases since the start of the year.

Most of the cases have been in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and the United States have recorded individual cases.

A second health worker in Texas tested positive for the disease on Wednesday, after caring for a Liberian Ebola patient who died at a Dallas hospital earlier this month.

Air links are few between Europe and west African nations struggling to fight the disease.

For now, Air France is maintaining its flights between Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and Conakry, Guinea. Belgium's Brussels Airlines serves Conakry and the Liberian capital Monrovia from Brussels airport.

African companies, such as Royal Air Maroc, serve the affected countries, with connecting flights to Europe.