Federal Government pledges $24 million for Ebola aid

BRENT ROW

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The ebola virus has been responsible for thousands of deaths in Africa’s west. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Federal Government has announced plans to fund an emergency treatment centre for Ebola patients in the disease-stricken African nation of Sierra Leone.

Federal Health Minister Andrew Dutton said the Government would fund a treatment facility specially equipped to house patients suffering from the illness.

“We are ensuring that thanks to Australia there is a 100-bed treatment centre that is staffed and run in Sierra Leone,” Mr Dutton said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Government will contract private medical services provider ASPEN Medical to staff and equip the facility.

“We’ve been talking with [Sierra Leone authorities] about how we can most usefully contribute to an international effort,” Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott said the Federal Government will not be sending military forces to West Africa, explaining that the situation does not warrant the deployment of troops.

“This is a health emergency, it’s not a military emergency, which is why we have contracted a private health provider to do this,” he said.

Mr Abbott also announced stricter quarantine procedures for all inbound flights from West Africa.

“People on inbound flights into our country from West Africa… will notice that there is additional information they must provide to human quarantine and border security agents,” he said.

But the Prime Minister reassures the public that there is still little risk of Ebola spreading to Australian shores.

“I think the likelihood of someone coming into Australia with the disease are low and the chances of an outbreak are lower still,” he said.

The treatment centre will be funded for six months.

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