When asked for a readout of the COBR meeting on Ebola, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson (PMOS) said the central objective of the meeting - chaired by the Prime Minister - was to hear the very latest about the situation in Sierra Leone, adding that the Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, International Development Secretary, Transport Secretary, and the Health Secretary were also in attendance.
The PMOS also touched on a number of agenda items from the COBR meeting:
The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser gave a short presentation to the meeting about the spread of the disease and the impact that measures such as those associated with safer burials were having on the spread of Ebola.
The meeting also heard about the work that British armed forces personnel were undertaking both in terms of the construction of the bed and treatment facilities in Kerry Town, and the work that the 3 Merlin helicopters from RFA Argus were doing in being able to provide transportation and logistical support throughout the country.
With regard to Ebola screening at UK ports of entry the PMOS said the Health Secretary gave a short update on UK preparedness, including the screening operations at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester airports, and the Eurostar terminal in London.
When asked about the international response to the Ebola outbreak, the PMOS said the WHO had rightly described the outbreak as the most serious global health emergency currently facing the world. So long as the transmission rates remained above 1 the risk remained, the PMOS added. As for the forthcoming G20 meeting, the PMOS said the Prime Minister would be calling for more to be done to tackle the disease.
European Court of Justice case
When asked about a recent judgement of the European Court of Justice relating to the restriction of unemployment benefits for “economically inactive” EU migrants, the PMOS said the government would look closely at the ruling, adding that the case underscored the fact that freedom of movement within the EU wasn’t an unqualified right.
Justice and Home Affairs vote
When asked about the government motion to approve the Draft Criminal Justice and Data Protection (Protocol No. 36) Regulations, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson (PMOS) said the House of Commons had debated and voted overwhelmingly in favour of the entire package of 35 Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) measures.