South Africa has taken the decision to impose a total travel ban for all non-citizens travelling from high risk countries to limit the spread of Ebola to the country.
Addressing media at a briefing in Pretoria, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said in addition, citizens of South Africa who wish to travel to these countries will be requested to delay their travel unless it is also absolutely essential for them to travel.
The high risk countries are Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia – with Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia being identified as medium risk.
The travel advisory is part of enhanced precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Ebola into South Africa.
“All South Africans are hereby advised to avoid non-essential travel to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone.
South Africans are not restricted from travelling to these countries, however all returning travellers from these countries will be subjected to rigorous screening and medical assessments before being allowed entry into the country,” said the minister.
He said South African citizens returning from these countries will have to be subjected to a stricter screening process.
This will include completing a comprehensive health questionnaire before gaining entry back into the country and if the comprehensive medical questionnaire and the temperature screening reveal something, they will have to subject themselves to a complete medical examination.
1 350 people have died from the virus in West Africa, according to the World Health Organisation, with another 2 473 confirmed cases of Ebola.
Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have each declared the outbreak a national disaster.
“Cabinet noted with concern the extent of the outbreak and the increase of cases in three of these countries, i.e Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, over the last week.
Cabinet further approved funding requested by the Department of Health to the tune of R32.5 million, from the African Renaissance Fund to support containment and prevent further spread of the virus to South Africa and other countries.
Part of the funds will be used to deploy the mobile laboratory in Sierra Leone, fund transport and accommodation for the team and training for health care workers.
Regarding the patient from Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg that was suspected of having the virus, the Minister once again reiterated that his results for Ebola tested negative.