Channel NewsAsia

South Korea steps up measures against Ebola

The South Korean government is not taking any chances against Ebola. It has heightened quarantine checks at airports and is considering importing an experimental Ebola drug from Japan. 

SEOUL: There are no cases of Ebola in South Korea, but the government is not taking any chances. It has heightened quarantine checks at airports and is considering importing an experimental Ebola drug from Japan.

All visitors have to pass though infrared cameras set up at South Korea's Incheon International airport to detect if they have a fever. Im Eun-joo, an airport official, said: "We are conducting fever tests on everyone coming in. Those coming in from the affected areas also have to do a questionnaire, allowing us to identify those that may be infected."

This is one of several measures the government here has set up amid global concerns about the deadly virus.

Since early this month, a task force has been put in place. And although there are no cases of Ebola in South Korea right now, the government has said it may consider bringing in favipiravir, an experimental anti-viral drug from Japan to treat the disease. No further details on the plans were available.

South Korea has also asked its citizens to cancel travel plans to the West African region, primarily to countries affected by the outbreak. Its health minister said in a meeting over the weekend that it was crucial that the virus does not enter the country.

"Again, I ask that all of you take responsibility and ensure that there are no cracks in the measures at all," said South Korean Health Minister Moon Hyung-pyo. But just in case of an outbreak, the ministry is setting up more than 500 emergency beds in 17 hospitals nationwide.

The government said it could also send medical staff to West Africa if Korean citizens there face a threat from the infection.