Ensure Ebola detection equipment at airports are working: HC to Centre

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Ensure working Ebola detection equipment
Mumbai, Oct 7: The Bombay High Court today asked the Centre to file an 'action taken report' on October 14 with regard to providing equipment at Nagpur and Pune airports to screen passengers arriving from African countries to detect possible Ebola virus infection.

The direction was given by a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka, which was hearing a PIL filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar alleging that the country is not fully equipped to detect the presence of Ebola among people coming from African countries and to provide treatment.

The counsel for the Union government, Rui Rodrigues submitted that two thermal image scanners had been provided at Pune and Nagpur airports but they were not functional.

"The scanner at Pune had developed a snag and the defect had not been repaired yet. The scanner at Nagpur was not operational as the formalities required for its functioning had not been completed," Rodrigues said.

The HC, however, asked the central government to ensure that both these scanners start functioning immediately and asked it to file an 'action taken report' after a week. On the last occasion, the Centre had informed the court that the scanners had been shifted from Hyderabad and Goa airports to Nagpur and Pune airports, and that they would be functional within a week.

However, this period has already expired. The court had earlier asked the state government to provide medical screening facilities at Pune and Nagpur airports, on the lines of those in Mumbai and Delhi. The state government had said in an affidavit that the Centre had not provided scanners for Nagpur and Pune airports.

The High Court then asked the Centre to provide the equipment as soon as possible to which it said that "adequate" screening measures were in place at ports and airports.

Tirodkar's PIL had alleged that several Indians or NRIs in Africa were returning due to outbreak of Ebola in the continent, but there were no facilities either to detect or treat Ebola in India.

PTI

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