BRUSSELS—During a two-hour discussion in Luxembourg on Monday, foreign ministers of the European Council agreed to establish a mechanism that will guarantee that health workers from the European Union can be evacuated from West Africa if they fall ill.
This would allow smaller EU member states without the financial resources to airlift people out of West Africa, to send more health workers to fight the epidemic.
The council also called for an audit of the screening systems at airports in Ebola-affected countries and in the EU.
Brussels came under fire recently for not screening passengers from West Africa, including one U.S.-bound passenger with Ebola, Eric Duncan, who died on Oct. 8 in Dallas.
On Sunday it was announced that Spanish nurse Teresa Romero, the first person infected outside of Africa, tested negative for the virus.
She was treating two Spanish missionaries who were working in West Africa when she contracted the virus. Both were treated in Spain, where they died of the virus, one in August and one in September.
The most recent statement on Ebola was released by the European Council in August, and at that time the virus had claimed 900 lives in West Africa. The number of deaths in the region now exceeds 4,500, according to the World Health Organization.
The EU’s 28 member states have committed almost $640 million to help contain the virus.
Today the U.K. pushed the E.U. to commit $1.27 billion to build more hospitals and better training for workers to prevent the spread of the disease.
The U.K. has been one of the most proactive countries in the fight against Ebola and has sent hundreds of medics to the region.
In a statement, the European Council lauded the U.K., France, and the United States for their efforts in fighting the virus. It called for more international collaboration and welcomed the first U.N. emergency health mission, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).