Ebola alert: 16 Indians landing from Liberia cleared; one isolated

Sixteen of 17 Indians who arrived in Delhi on Tuesday were cleared of the Ebola virus after elaborate checks at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport; while one who had fever and sore throat has been isolated in a quarantine-cum-isolation facility at the airport.

The Indians returning from Liberia worked with Shapoorji Pallonji group;s Afcons Infrastruvture. The health ministry said 112 Indians are working with the firm in Liberia, one of the West African countries worst hit by the virus.

The Indians are being brought back to the country by International SOS (ISOS) Organisation on the request of Afcons. They come from various states of the country.

Sources at the IGI Airport said the passengers coming from Ebola-hit countries are being made to fill up a form mentioning whether they have shown any symptom related to the disease. They then have to pass through a thermal scanner. Anybody found with high temperature is isolated and taken to a hospital for further tests, they said.

It is also being checked if a passenger has come in contact with someone who has Ebola. A quarantine-cum-isolation health facility has been set up at the airport, and sanitisers were seen at the entry points. Airport staff and officials were seen wearing masks and gloves on duty as a precaution.

"As per the guidelines, the high risk category (those with symptoms) are isolated at the airport; medium risk category (those giving history of contact with an Ebola case) are prioritised for active surveillance, and low risk category (those without symptoms and without any contact history) are informed about helpline numbers to be contacted in case they develop any symptom subsequently," the ministry said.

State governments have also been requested to undertake rigorous tracking and monitoring of these passengers, it added.

Earlier, five passengers (four doctors and one physiotherapist) who returned from Nigeria were admitted to the quarantine facility at Delhi for observation on 22 August. "All of them have tested negative for Ebola in tests done at the National Centre for Disease Control. Three of them have been released from the quarantine facility. The remaining two (a doctor and a physiotherapist) had developed fever and got transferred to the RML [Ram Manohar Lohia] Hospital for further treatment. Both of them are afebrile now," the health ministry said.

"Today, 44 passengers were enrolled for follow up in their respective states through state IDSP units. As on date, a cumulative number of 773 passengers are being tracked. Most of them are in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu," the ministry said.

More than 40,000 Indians are present in countries affected by Ebola. The planes are being disinfected after the passengers alight and passengers for the next flight are being allowed to board only 30 minutes after the disinfection process is over.