MORE than 100 passengers on Air Namibia flight SW722 were held in isolation for almost four hours Friday morning after it was suspected that one of them had Ebola.
The passengers in the flight, from Johannesburg that landed at Hosea Kutako International Airport at 07h32, were later released after doctors carried out checks.
Chairperson of the national health emergency management committee in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Dr Jack Vries, confirmed the quarantine, but said it was a false alarm.
"The suspected passenger had an allergic reaction after eating food that contained fish. He is, however, clear now," said Vries.
He also said the passenger, who had flown from Zanzibar in Tanzania, was told to return to the hospital in case he develops Ebola-like symptoms within the next 21 days.
Vries said one should be suspicious if they have a high fever. “Ask who they are and where they come from. Those two go hand in hand. This is very serious. Ebola kills nine out of 10 people and there is no cure,” said Vries.
The Namibian understands that the passenger is Namibian by nationality but lives in Zanzibar and is in the country on holiday.q
Primus Shilongo, an epidemiologist at Windhoek Central Hospital said they conducted an assessment, asking passengers questions about where they were coming from; and whom they had made contact with.
Shilongo said they realised that the Ebola alarm was false, while Air Namibia general manager of quality and safety, Raul Sosa Riera said the crew became suspicious when they realised that the passenger was coughing, had body rashes and persistent diarrhea.
Namibia Airports Company general manager for commercial services Toska Sem said the crew communicated with the air traffic control officer before landing, hence the immediate activation of the emergency plan.
“The plane was put on quarantine and no contact was made with other aircraft for safety reasons. The Ministry of Health and Social Services' emergency committee was called,” said Sem.
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