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Britain holds national exercise to test Ebola preparedness

London: British authorities on Saturday held a national exercise to test preparedness for an Ebola outbreak in the country, following recent enhanced screening among arrivals from countries affected by the disease.Senior ministers, government departments and

IANS [ Updated: October 12, 2014 6:36 IST ]
britain holds national exercise to test ebola preparedness
britain holds national exercise to test ebola preparedness

London: British authorities on Saturday held a national exercise to test preparedness for an Ebola outbreak in the country, following recent enhanced screening among arrivals from countries affected by the disease.

Senior ministers, government departments and expert medical professionals from ambulance services, hospitals and Public Health England, along with the country's chief medical officer, took part in the national exercise, Xinhua quoted the British Department of Health as saying.

To ensure the public is protected, Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered the exercise as part of the Britain's ongoing contingency planning.

The eight-hour exercise involved actors simulating Ebola symptoms and emergency services responding to them in multiple areas around the country. Some people taking part in the exercise may be wearing personal protective equipment.

"It is vital that we test these plans in as realistic a situation as possible, with real people in real time. That will include a full COBR (Cabinet Office Briefing Room) meeting chaired by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to assess the outcome and learn any wider resilience lessons," the Department of Health said in a statement.

"The public can be assured that we have been planning our response to an Ebola case in the UK for many months now since the outbreak started in West Africa," it added.

It also stressed that the overall risk to the public in Britain remained "very low".

On Thursday, Britain decided to conduct "enhanced screening" for Ebola among people traveling from countries affected by the disease.

According to UN figures released Wednesday, over 8, 000 people are believed or suspected to have been infected, and more than 3,300 have died since the Ebola outbreak was confirmed in March.

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