NZ border screening for Ebola scaled back

Media release

09 December 2015

Additional border screening of travellers who have recently been in Sierra Leone has been lifted, with the country recently declared Ebola-free.

New Zealand has routine border systems in place for managing ill travellers.

Enhanced border screening was introduced on 10 August, 2014 for individuals arriving from West African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Since August 2014 there has been a huge local and international effort to control the outbreak.

The Ministry of Health’s Acting Director of Public Health, Dr Stewart Jessamine, says, “The Ministry of Health has greatly appreciated the support from New Zealand Customs which has been instrumental in implementing the additional border screening measures for Ebola. The two agencies are continuing to work closely on the management of border health risks.

“As of 8 December 2015, 167 people have been identified at the border as having visited an Ebola-affected country in the previous 30 days.

“The Ministry of Health is continuing to monitor the situation in West Africa, where Guinea is now the only country yet to be declared free of Ebola transmission.

“Additional border screening will remain in place for travellers who’ve recently been in Guinea, until it has been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization.”

A country is considered to be free of Ebola transmission once no new cases have been detected for 42 days.

The Ministry of Health’s advice to any traveller who feels unwell after returning from overseas is to call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or phone their GP or hospital prior to visiting. Signage and health cards with this advice are displayed and available at New Zealand’s international airports.

Further information on Ebola is available on the Ministry of Health and WHO websites.

For more information contact: Erina O'Donohue, Senior Media Advisor, 021 428 067

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