Rwanda Cancels Ebola Screening for Travelers From U.S., Spain

Rwanda reversed a decision to screen travelers from the U.S. and Spain, a day after announcing the measure as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of Ebola in the country.

Health Minister Agnes Binagwaho announced the cancellation of the screenings in a post on her Twitter account yesterday. Rwandan President Paul Kagame welcomed the decision, saying on his Twitter account that the minister had “sometimes acted first and thought later.”

“Apologies for any inconveniences caused by my decision as Minister of Health, which was solely mine and not endorsed by the government of Rwanda,” Binagwaho said. “Rwanda’s efforts to implement right measures for Ebola prevention to protect our people will continue to be implemented countrywide.”

Public-health officials across the continent have implemented monitoring and screening procedures to prevent Ebola from spreading. The virus has killed more than 4,500 people in the three hardest-hit countries in West Africa -- Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea -- since December.

The Rwandan measures had included the requirement that visitors complete a detailed questionnaire about whether they have any symptoms of illness and saying where they have traveled in the past 22 days.

“A number” of staff at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali and private citizens were following the procedures, Public Affairs Officer Roger Webb said on Oct. 21.

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