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Ebola scare at Piarco

By Kejan Haynes

An Ebola scare at Piarco International turns out to be just that -- a scare.


With hundreds of people having died as the worst Ebola virus outbreak in history sweeps through West Africa... high level precautions were taken at Piarco this afternoon:


An aircraft grounded...and passengers isolated... after one man aboard a British Airways flight was flagged as a suspected case.


Turns out the passenger need not have been flagged at all.


Flight BA 2159 originated in London Gatwick, then went on to St Lucia before landing in Trinidad before 4pm.


Airport staff received a memo which read:


“Please be advised that (01) Person of Interest (POI) was detected via JRCC on Flight BA 2159 which departed London Gatwick (LGW) at 0910 hours on 07 August 2014 and is scheduled to arrive in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago ( POS) at 1550 hours on 07 August 2014. Traveler is a high risk for Ebola Virus and has been referred for admissibility assessment. Please provide the results of the examination at the port of entry when they become available.”


TV6 news has confirmed the Airport was alerted by the Joint Regional Communications Centre based in Barbados via the Advance Passenger Information database.


According to their website ,the database contains a complete list of persons (crew and passengers) on board including their biographic data and carrier information.


When we called the JRCC to ask why the passenger was flagged, we were told a supervisor would return our call but never did.


Principal Medical Officer Dr. Collin Furlonge told TV6 news the passenger was said to be a Nigerian doctor living in London.


“We have sent personnel to go and confirm the information. But there seems to be little or no risk at all.” He said.


But he was eventually cleared, because he had not been to Africa in years.


A source within the airport told TV6 news the passengers on board the flight were not allowed to disembark the plane, while the Nigerian passenger was taken into isolation.


Port Health workers were on standby before the plane even landed. Other airport workers had been asked to stay within a certain part of the airport.


It was just yesterday, The caribbean Public health agency said the risk of the Ebola virus being imported into the Caribbean was low.


Health Minister Dr. Fuad Khan is currently out of the country. When TV6 news contacted him he said the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of National security are the bodies equipped to deal with any possible threats.


He has been saying the country is ready to deal with any threat of the Ebola Virus.


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