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India to screen, track passengers from Ebola-affected countries

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India to screen, track passengers from Ebola-affected countries
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New Delhi: The government has announced a slew of steps in the light of the outbreak of Ebola virus in west African countries, including screening and tracking of passengers originating or transiting from there.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Wednesday told the Parliament that a total of 44,700 Indians are living in different countries hit by Ebola, a deadly virus that has claimed 932 lives so far.

The minister said that 500 Indians were in the Republic of Guinea, 3,000 in Liberia and 1,200 in Sierra Leone, from where the maximum cases have been reported. Nigeria has a much larger presence of nearly 40,000 Indian citizens. "If the situation worsens, there is a possibility of these people returning home," Vardhan said.

Vardhan further said that preparedness measures are in place to deal with any case of the virus imported to India.

"In view of the reports of outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in 4 countries of West Africa, namely, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, it is recommended that non-essential travel to these countries be deferred till such time that the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak situation is brought under control," he said.

"Though there is no vaccine or curative therapy for Ebola virus disease, I want to apprise this house that outbreaks can be contained through early detection and isolation of cases, contact tracing and monitoring, and following rigorous procedures for infection control, if such cases were to report in our country," he added.

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