Rwanda Airport Resumes Automated Clearance After Ebola Scare

A passenger screened for Ebola upon arrival at the airport
A passenger screened for Ebola upon arrival at the airport

Passengers can now use automatic clearance system at Kigali International airport after the Ebola epidemic crisis has considerably declined.

“The World Health Organization has reduced travel restrictions as a result of Ebola cases decline; we are thus resuming our automated system,” says Ange Sebutege, in charge of Communication at Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration.

Sebutege added, “We had suspended the automated system to be able to meet every passenger physically and to handle a potential occurrence of Ebola.”

Current Ebola deaths are estimated to be more than 11,000 people in West Africa and left some 17,000 survivors in the region.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) started spreading early this year in the West African countries, including Guinea, Sierra Leonne and Liberia.

Every passenger arriving in Rwanda had to go through a screening. The screening included taking each visitor’s body temperature via a laser thermometer.

 Each visitor also had to complete a detailed questionnaire concerning whether they have any symptoms of illness and where they have traveled in the past 22 days.

The automated passenger clearance system at Kigali international airport was suspended last year, when cases of Ebola spread.

Rwanda’s national career Rwandair made direct flights to west Africa.

WHO indicates that, over the last eleven weeks, “transmission of Ebola virus has been geographically confined to several small areas in western Guinea and Sierra Leone, marking a transition to a distinct, third phase of the epidemic.”

Rwanda has registered zero case of Ebola.

“The situation is far better in the West African countries,”Agnes Binagwaho, the Rwanda’s Health Minister has told KT Press, justifying removal of travel restrictions.

However, Sebutege said, some restrictions remain for some countries, but added, these will be confirmed by Ministry of Health.

The automated system is intended for nationals arriving from different countries across the world. They get their passports scanned to open the first gate of the automated machine, while the second opens by use of finger print recognition. This takes only 12 seconds to clear a passenger, while it takes between 40-60 seconds for the normal procedures.

A passenger checking in using the automated clearance facility at Kigali International airport. 
A passenger checking in using the automated clearance facility at Kigali International airport.



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