NewsEast & Horn AfricaEthiopian Airlines 'closely monitoring' Ebola risk


Posted on Friday, 01 August 2014 12:27

Ethiopian Airlines 'closely monitoring' Ebola risk

By Beyene Geda

Ethiopian Airlines says it is closely monitoring the situation in West Africa, after two African airlines suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone five due to the Ebola outbreak.

Five months after the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus was first recorded in Guinea, more cases are being recorded across West Africa.

Togo-based airline ASKY on Wednesday suspended all its flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

ASKY's decision follows a similar move by Nigerian carrier Arik which last Sunday halted direct flights to the two countries for the same reasons.

"Ethiopian will continue to closely monitor the situation and implement recommended measures with a view to ensure at all times the safety of its customers and staff," the airline said in a statement.

The airline explained that "no travel ban has been issued" at the moment although it has taken "extraordinary precautions" in connection with the outbreak of the disease in the region.

Among the precautions, Ethiopian said currently "stringent and specific surveillance is being carried out regarding all flights from West Africa at Addis Ababa airport".

The contagious disease often leads to death and is spread through bodily fluids, including sweat, which means one can get sick from touching an infected person.

The airline says its frontline staff, both on-ground at airports and on-board, had received training on the disease's mode of transmission and safety measures.

"Ethiopian is continuously monitoring updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international and national bodies on the disease, its spread and recommended safety measures," the airline said.

The WHO said Thursday the overall death toll from the Ebola outbreak has climbed to 729, including 57 new fatalities reported since last Friday.

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