Italy: Upcoming UN food conference sparks Ebola fears

'You can isolate the terrorists but you can't stop delegates coming from Ebola hit areas,' Western diplomatic source says.

Italy: Upcoming UN food conference sparks Ebola fears

A United Nations conference on nutrition has sparked fears of Ebola contagion, just weeks before thousands of participants prepare to descend on the Italian capital.

A Food and Agriculture Organization logistics group meeting was this week told by its medical service chief Dr. C. Dumont that some delegates from Ebola-stricken countries may be placed in isolation units, while "the Italian authorities will carry out a screening at the [Rome] airport for passengers coming from the countries."

As many as 3000 people - including Pope Francis and the Queen of the Netherlands - are expected to attend the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agency International conference to be held November 19-21.

The logistics group said that "several proposals have been put forward [i.e. isolation units, screening of all participants, information notes] but, in order to avoid problems in terms of image and with the Italian Authorities, Medical Unit, Security and Communications will work together to define the appropriate implementation arrangements.

"A help desk will be installed at the airport and public health booths," to check temperatures and for participants to fill in questionnaires upon arrival, it added.

Asked by the Anadolu Agency if in the wake of the first death in the United States from Ebola, the event wouldn't be best postponed - as was the case with many international events in the wake of fears of another attack following 911 - a Western diplomatic source said it could be seen as "an even more pressing problem."

"You can isolate the terrorists but you can't stop delegates coming from Ebola hit areas," the man - who spoke on condition of anonymity - said.

This week, the Italian health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, said she was concerned that members of Rome-based international organizations - such as the FAO, the World Food Programme and International Fund for Agriculture and Development - were travelling regularly from Italy to Ebola-infected areas.

“We have to improve security also to protect those who come to our country for work purposes,” Lorenzin said.

In Turin, organizers of this month's annual Slow Food conference, a celebration of traditional agricultural products and cuisine from around the world, said they had asked delegates from three Ebola-hit countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, not to attend.

However diplomatic sources said it would be difficult for the FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva to exclude delegates from any country.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ekim 2014, 14:59