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Heathrow IT glitch resolved

Passengers faced delays last night following a computer glitch Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Passengers flying from Heathrow last night faced delays after a computer glitch.

A spokeswoman for the busy London airport said staff had to manually process passengers' baggage "for about an hour" during the incident in which an IT system was down.

She said the problem, which affected all terminals but mainly terminals three and five, caused "some disruption" and has now been resolved.

Screening for Ebola to start at Heathrow tomorrow

A plane takes off from Heathrow Airport Credit: Tim Ockenden/PA Wire

Enhanced screening for Ebola will begin at Heathrow airport tomorrow after the Health Secretary revealed the deadly virus is expected to reach the UK.

Jeremy Hunt said checks would take place at Terminal 1 before they are expanded to cover Gatwick airport and Eurostar rail terminals by the end of next week, as the death toll in west Africa reached more than 4,000 people.

He told MPs it was "likely" that Ebola will be seen in the UK and a "handful" of cases could be confirmed in the next three months.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Hunt said: "This Government's first priority is the safety of the British people. Playing our part in halting the rise of the disease in west Africa is the single most important way of preventing Ebola affecting people in the UK.

"Whilst there are no direct flights from the affected region, there are indirect routes into the UK.

"In the next week, Public Health England will start screening and monitoring UK bound air passengers identified by the Border Force coming on to the main routes from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea."

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Heathrow 'working with government' over Ebola screening

Heathrow Airport has moved to reassure passengers after the government enforced additional screening on passengers arriving from Ebola-affected countries in west Africa.

In a statement, the airport said it was working with the government over the new measures but noted official UK guidance still indicated "the risk of a traveler contracting Ebola to be low".

The welfare of our passengers and colleagues is always our main priority and we are working with Government to support the implementation of the additional screening measures.

We would encourage anybody with individual questions or concerns to refer to guidance from the Foreign Office and Public Health England.

– Heathrow Airport spokesperson
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Chief Medical Officer backs Ebola screening at airports

The government's Chief Medical Officer has said she thinks it is "right" that the UK takes extra screening measures to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said: “Although the risk to the UK remains low, in view of the concern about the growing number of cases, it is right to consider what further measures could be taken, to ensure that any potential cases arriving in the UK are identified as quickly as possible."

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

She added that rapid access to healthcare by anyone infected with Ebola was key to reducing the risk of transmission to others.

Downing Street said they had been advised by Dame Sally "that enhanced screening arrangements at the UK’s main ports of entry for people travelling from the affected regions - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea - will offer an additional level of protection to the UK."

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Ebola screenings could involve medical assessments

New UK Ebola screening taking place on passengers arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea could involve medical assessments, Downing Street says.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, initial tests will assess passengers' recent travel history, who they have been in contact with and what their onward travel arrangements are.

There may also be a "medical assessment, conducted by trained medical personnel rather than Border Force Staff", a statement said.

Passengers will also be given advice on what to do should they develop symptoms later.

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Osborne: No Ebola screening at UK airports yet

George Osborne has said there are no plans yet to screen arrivals at British airports for the Ebola virus.

Speaking to the BBC the Chancellor said: "If the medical advice is we need to screen, and it might well be, then we will absolutely take that action."

"We're not going to do anything that puts the British population at risk, indeed quite the opposite," he added.

Hounslow Councillor: Lives are blighted by Heathrow

Hounslow Council and the residents living under Heathrow flight paths have shared their thoughts about a potential expansion of the airport.

In a clip posted on YouTube, one resident said "everybody wants to come to Hounslow", while others complained that they are in a "constant battle" against the noise from the aircrafts.

Councillor Amritpal Mann said "residents' lives are blighted" by the living conditions of air and noise pollution.

"It means their children have to suffer the constant noise that comes from the aircraft in their teaching, their schools and their gardens," he added.

Having ruled out the Thames Estuary option, the Airport Commission is left with three shortlisted schemes for airport expansion - two involving expansion at Heathrow Airport in west London and the other for a new runway at Gatwick in West Sussex.

Hounslow Council happy 'Boris Island' plans killed off

Hounslow Council has welcomed the Airports Commission's decision not to add the inner Thames estuary proposal to its final shortlist.

Councillor Amrit Mann, deputy leader for Hounslow Council, said:

We, like most people, thought Boris Island was a flight of fancy and now that it has been sunk, Heathrow won’t have to close.

This makes many of the tens of thousands of jobs reliant on the airport more secure in the long term.

We’re proud to have Heathrow on our doorstep and want to see it prosper. But we want a better not bigger Heathrow, and a better deal for the people of Hounslow. We want the best quality of life possible for our residents now.

– Amrit Mann

"This means better protection from aircraft noise in our homes and schools and better public transport like a massively improved Piccadilly line and a new rail link from the south," he added.

Boris Johnson 'blames civil servants' for airport rejection

Mayor Boris Johnson has blamed civil servants for the rejection of plans to build a major new airport in the Thames Estuary, saying "They can't get their heads around it".

The scheme, championed by London Mayor Boris Johnson, was killed off after the commission said the proposal had "substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits".

Having ruled out the Thames Estuary option, the Airport Commission is left with three shortlisted schemes for airport expansion - two involving expansion at Heathrow Airport in west London and the other for a new runway at Gatwick in West Sussex.

The commission is due to make its final report to ministers in summer 2015 - after the general election.

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