BBC make-up staff are too scared to touch guests from Ebola-hit regions of Africa out of fear of catching the virus, a newsreader has said.
Speaking at an event for the Wellbeing for Women charity last night, Fiona Bruce said it was “not unreasonable” for staff to fear guests who had just come from Guinea, one of the worst hit nations, adding that she herself would not report from countries that are badly affected.
“We have make-up artists who are saying, ‘Hang on, these people are just turning up in our chair. They have just come in from Guinea. Do I want to be touching them?’ Which is not unreasonable.”
The Sun reports that she added: “There will be companies up and down the land who must be having conversations about this if they have any international aspect to their business.”
When asked if she would report from an affected country, she replied: “No, I would not. They could not compel me.
“They are not monsters. They can’t. We will get some cases here. It is inevitable.”
The BBC is currently not allowing some guests from virus-hit regions into its buildings, instead interviewing them by Skype or phone, but has denied putting a blanket ban in place.
A spokesman said: “There is no ban in place and people who do not have symptoms are allowed into BBC buildings.
“Where people have been exposed to the virus but have not registered with public health authorities we recommend interviews take place by telephone or video phone.”
There has so far been one Ebola case in Britain, after a medic who contracted the virus while working in Sierra Leone was flown home for treatment. William Pooley, 29, recovered and was discharged from hospital last month after receiving an experimental drug.
Yesterday, Breitbart London reported that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt believes Britain will experience another Ebola case within three months, and could have up to ten cases by Christmas.
He added, however, that Britain is well placed to combat the virus. “We should remember that the international community has shown that if we act decisively we can defeat serious new infectious disease threats such as SARS and pandemic flu.
“The situation will get worse before it gets better, but we should not flinch in our resolve to defeat Ebola both for the safety of the British population and as part of our responsibility to some of the poorest countries on the planet.
“Our response will continue to develop in the weeks and months to come.”