Heathrow airport has started screening for Ebola among passengers flying into the UK from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Given that the incubation period, i.e. the period between virus onset and symptom display, is on average two to 21 days (according to the World Health Organisation), airport screening is an expensive, disruptive and pointless token gesture by a government desperate to be seen to be ‘doing something’.
The only really credible policy would involve isolating the three countries at risk, treating people locally and ensuring that any apparently uninfected people are held in quarantine for a minimum of three weeks before allowing them to leave.
Token gestures are not enough.