Ebola patients ‘will not be allowed into South Africa’

2014-08-01 13:30

South Africa will not treat foreigners who contract the deadly Ebola virus, says the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

“If there is a confirmed diagnosis of a foreign national, they will not be allowed into the country [to get treatment],” Lucille Blumberg, the institute’s head of public health, surveillance and response, told reporters in Johannesburg today.

“If it is undiagnosed and the person does not know [that they have the Ebola virus], they will be treated.”

The Associated Press reported that more than 700 people had died in West Africa from Ebola, with the worst-recorded outbreak in history centred in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Blumberg said although the government had taken a stand on the treatment of foreigners, those infected would not generally have the means to come to South Africa and seek treatment.

“We have no Ebola in the country. The chances of the outbreak [in South Africa] are very small,” she said.

Blumberg said it was important for people to know about the virus and for those infected to disclose their status to doctors.

She said the virus was not easily transmitted and said those travelling to affected areas would not contract the virus.

“You need direct contact with an infected individual. You cannot get it from the air,” she said.

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