Hlabangani Mtshali
1 minute read
11 Nov 2014
6:00 pm

US journalist self-quarantined in SA hotel over Ebola fears

Hlabangani Mtshali

An American TV journalist, along with her team, have been self-quarantined in a South African hotel after spending time in Liberia covering the Ebola outbreak for CBS' 60 Minutes.

Clinical research fellow at Oxford University, Dr Felicity Hartnell, fills a syringe with Ebola vaccine Chimp Adenovirus type 3 (ChAd3) before giving it to British volunteer Ruth Atkins at the Oxford Vaccine Group Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine (CCVTM) in Oxford on September 17, 2014. Atkins is the first person to receive the new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control". The vaccine specifically targets the Zaire species of Ebola, which has killed 2,461 people out of 4,985 recorded cases in Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone since the start of the year, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) data. AFP PHOTO/POOL/STEVE PARSONS

Lara Logan, a South African-born correspondent for the current affairs show spoke to the programme during an interview conducted via FaceTime from her hotel room.

In the video, Logan said she and her team immediately placed themselves in a 21-day quarantine period, which would end this Friday, after returning from Liberia.

“I haven’t left the building since we arrived here… and you do get cabin fever,” Logan said in the interview.

Logan goes on to describe how she and her team had travelled to an American-run Ebola hospital in Liberia – the epicentre of the recent Ebola virus outbreak – and were allowed by the South African government to set up a quarantine area in the hotel as a safety precaution.

She added that, according to doctors and scientists, the actual quarantine period was 10 days; however, they opted for 21 for added security.

Speaking to The Citizen, Ministry of Health spokesperson Joe Maila said he could neither confirm if Logan was in the country nor which city she was allegedly in.

“I don’t know… I received a call asking about this story earlier so we are still trying to check and find out,” said Maila.

While the current Ebola outbreak has claimed close to 5 000 lives, there had been no cases confirmed in South Africa.

In October, a KwaZulu-Natal man was rumoured to have been tested for Ebola; however, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases denied this claim.

“[The] South African man who worked as a fleet manager in Sierra Leone got anxious [upon his return], and was referred to Addington Hospital [in Durban],” NICD public health, surveillance, and response head Lucille Blumberg said.