Ebola in the UK Update: Patient Transferred to London, Two More Cases Being Tested

Stringer / Reuters
Stringer / Reuters

The British nurse diagnosed with Ebola after she flew back into the country on Sunday evening has been airlifted by military aircraft from Glasgow to London to receive treatment at the Royal Free Hospital, as other suspected cases are assessed in Cornwall and Scotland.

The health worker, who flew south on a C-130 Hercules military cargo plane today with an attendant team of Ebola experts returned to the United Kingdom on Sunday after working in former British colony Sierra Leone. The Ebola diagnosis was not made until she arrived in the country and she flew in an ordinary plane with other passengers, who are now being sought by the government for testing.

The Sierra Leone patient is the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed on British soil, even though it was contracted abroad.

Although few details have been released about the nurse who is now in care in London or the other two suspected cases, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the second Scottish case is “low risk”, and also a health worker. She added the two Scottish cases appeared to be unrelated.

The second Scottish patient had been staying in a youth hostel in the highlands before presenting symptoms, reports the Daily Telegraph, which suggests they may have been in the country longer than just a day.

A third suspected case of Ebola is being assessed at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. The patient, who has also recently returned from West Africa, is undergoing a series of tests to determine if they have contracted the virus.

The secretary of state for defence Michael Fallon MP took to twitter today to commend the aircrew that moved the confirmed patient from Scotland to London.

He said: “I wish to praise the professionalism of RAF’s C130 aircrew and NHS staff who transported the UK Ebola Virus patient to London. This has again demonstrated the benefits and capability that the Armed Forces bring to the UK as a whole. Our thoughts remain with the patient and their family at this time”.