(Adds that ban is first of its kind)
DUBAI Aug 2 Dubai's Emirates said it
had suspended flights to Guinea over Ebola, becoming the first
major international airline to impose a ban in response to the
outbreak of the deadly virus in West Africa.
Flights would be suspended from Saturday until further
notice, the airline said in a statement on its website. "The
safety of our passengers and crew is of the highest priority and
will not be compromised," it said.
The Ebola outbreak, which began in Guinea and has spread to
Liberia and Sierra Leone, has killed more than 700, making it
the deadliest since the virus was discovered almost 40 years
ago. Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.
In line with guidelines from International airlines
association IATA and the World Health Organization, several
major airlines and international airports have started health
screening of passengers on flights from West Africa.
But IATA said on Thursday the WHO was not recommending
travel restrictions or border closures, and there would be a low
risk to other passengers if an infected person flew.
Nigeria's largest airline Arik Air, which flies to a limited
number of international destinations including London, has
stopped flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Pan-African airline Asky was suspended by Nigeria's civil
aviation authorities for bringing the first Ebola case to the
country's largest city Lagos.
West African leaders agreed on Friday to take stronger
measures to try to bring Ebola under control and prevent it
spreading outside the region.
Emirates, which does not fly to either Liberia or Sierra
Leone, said any further actions in connection with the outbreak
would be "guided by the advice and updates from the government
and international health authorities."
(Reporting by Praveen Menon, editing by John Stonestreet)