A man suspected of being ill with the deadly Ebola virus has been placed in quarantine at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Lebanon.
The patient’s test results will not be released until the weekend, according to Health Minister Wael Abu Faour, who told reporters the results would be announced “as soon as they are issued.”
In Israel, drills to prepare staff on ways to deal with potential carriers or patients with Ebola have been carried out at clinics, hospitals and at Ben Gurion International Airport.
The virus currently has 70 percent fatality rate, and has claimed the lives of more than 4,500 victims globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The three hardest-hit nations are all in West Africa: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Because there is a large number of expats living in West Africa, Lebanon is especially at risk for contracting the disease.
The Lebanon Daily Star newspaper quoted a report by radio station Voice of Lebanon that said the quarantined patient is a man in his 20s who had recently arrived from a West African country after a layover in France.
A health ministry source told the newspaper, however, that in the past several months 12 other patients had all tested negative for Ebola, which causes symptoms that are similar to those of malaria and other viruses.
Regardless, Lebanon is taking no chances: Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut has been equipped with new screening equipment to meet the challenge of fighting Ebola.
Upon arrival at the airport, all passengers have already been walking past infrared cameras that allow medical staff to remotely check their temperature and highlight irregularities in their conditions. Similar technology was used during the past SARS outbreak, the newspaper noted.
Passengers arriving from Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo are to be required to complete a form that will determine whether they are carrying symptoms of Ebola. Anyone who appears to be positive for the illness will be immediately transported by ambulance to the hospital from the airport.
Quarantine rooms on the airfield are also being planned.
Hana Levi Julian