In the midst of the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, rising public concerns about its potential spread and an evolving array of national responses in Europe, the European airport trade association ACI Europe, recently underlined its support for urgent coordination between Health authorities at EU level.
The coordination should involve clear and unequivocal communication of risk assessment as regards the possible spread of the virus in Europe, ACI Europe underlined in an announcement. “This is what the public – in particular air passengers – expect. This is also what is needed to allay any unreasonable fear and avoid inefficient measures,” the announcement read.
In this regard, ACI Europe noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control (ECDC) have expressed reservations about the effectiveness of temperature screening of passengers on arrival – which has been implemented in the US & Canada and is apparently being contemplated by some EU countries. Conversely, both organisations support exit screening of departing passengers – which began at airports in the three main affected African countries, in the last two months.
According to ACI Europe, more than 36,000 people have been subject to exit screening. 77 were denied boarding because of health concerns. None of them had Ebola.
“A clear, efficient and fully coordinated response at EU level is the way forward,” ACI Europe’s director general, Olivier Jankovec, said in the announcement.
Mr. Jankovec added that Europe’s airports support a dual approach:
1. Supporting efforts to contain & eradicate the virus at source and
2. Communicating effectively to the public the measures that are being put in place and what they need to do, to play their part and stay safe.