The Star (Nairobi)

8 August 2014

West Africa: Kenya Airways Will Maintain Flights West Africa Despite Ebola Outbreak

Photo: Premium Times
Ebola outbreak.

National carrier Kenya Airways has said it will not stop flights to West Africa despite an outbreak of Ebola that has killed 923 people according to the latest World Health Organisation statistics.

CEO Titus Naikuni has said that KQ will not limit travel to those areas since the outbreak for which 1,700 cases have been reported across Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, has not been declared an epidemic or pandemic.

“No travel bans or advisory have been recommended. Withdrawing our flights to these key destinations given the safeguards already placed by the respective governments’ and global health authorities would amount to a corporate placement of unnecessary travel advisory,” Naikuni said.

The CEO added that KQ has put in place measures for the monitoring of the virus and has trained its personnel both locally and in West Africa of procedures for dealing with it.

“We have taken proactive measures to educate all Kenya Airways’ staff, and especially those on the ground in Sierra Leone and Liberia, on Ebola, how it is transmitted and how to keep safe,” Naikuni said. He added that thorough surveillance is being conducted at JKIA and constant monitoring of international health agencies such as World Health Organisation to stay up to date on developments of the disease.

Even as Kenya Airways says it will not place travel advisories to Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea, WHO has declared the Ebola outbreak in the West African region an international health emergency.

WHO’s director general Dr Margaret Chan in making the announcement said that the international state of emergency is a call to world health bodies to work in solidarity to deal with the outbreak, the worst in the four-decade history of the disease.

"Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own," Dr Chan said. "I urge the international community to provide this support on the most urgent basis possible," Chan added according to theindependent.com

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