Ebola Outbreak: DRC

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:19 pm on 20th May 2019.

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Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Secretary of State for International Development 4:19 pm, 20th May 2019

That, of course, is the central question. Our colleagues in public health conduct an analysis on a real-time basis and publish every two weeks their view of the risk to the United Kingdom. They publish the risk of vectors of transmission that they are aware of. They look at the fact that eastern DRC is a relatively remote area, with no direct flights to the United Kingdom, and there is a very limited number of people from the diaspora community of eastern DRC in Britain. However, if Ebola continues to spread, that fortnightly update will change. The current negligible risk could move up, which is why we need to watch this very closely. If it were to move to Uganda, two factors would come into play. Uganda has a better public health system, so it should be able to trace contact to contact and contain Ebola more rapidly, but there is the risk of the direct flights to the United Kingdom, so we need to keep the House updated very closely on that. At the moment, I think their assessment is correct. However, should the situation change, our assessment will need to change.