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The outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa does not pose a direct risk to the UK, the Foreign Secretary has said.
Speaking after an emergency Cobra meeting, Philip Hammond said he was coordinating with his French and American counterparts and the World Health Organisation to look at tackling the outbreak at its source.
“We need to just keep this in context – it’s a horrible disease and this is a significant outbreak, but the current number of people affected, spread across three countries, is containable at the moment,” he said.
At least 670 people in West Africa have been killed by the latest outbreak of the disease, and Mr Hammond said the Government was “absolutely focused” on the implications to Britain.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who also attended the emergency session, said tropical disease specialists in the NHS meant the UK was well-prepared to deal with any future outbreak.
“We are very confident that we have very good people in the NHS, very experienced people who will be ready to deal with anything, if it were to arrive in the UK,” he said.
The comments come after the Government’s chief scientific adviser warned this morning that imported diseases represented a “potential major threat” to the UK.
Sir Mark Walport described the issue as a “global grand challenge”.
“We are living in a completely interconnected world where disruptions in countries far away will have major impacts,” he told the Telegraph.
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