International Development Secretary Justine Greening has joined troops heading to Sierra Leone to help with the fight against Ebola.
The Cabinet minister flew out from RAF Brize Norton with around 100 soldiers from the Royal Army Medical Corps.
The UK is leading the international response to the disease in the country, and has pledged a £125m aid package including suport for 700 treatment beds.
The medics deploying today are from Catterick-based 35 Squadron, 5 Armoured Medical Regiment and Royal Army Medical Corps. They will staff an Ebola Training Academy alongside around 90 personnel from 22 Field Hospital who left for Sierra Leone last week.
Ms Greening will visit the academy, as well as the site of a 92 bed treatment facility in Kerry Town which is in the final stages of being constructed.
She said: “Halting the disease in West Africa is the most effective way of preventing Ebola infecting people here in the UK.
“That is why we are providing 700 treatment beds in Sierra Leone, sending vital supplies such as chlorine and protective clothing, and training hundreds of health workers.
“I look forward to seeing for myself how British Army medics and engineers, as well as our humanitarian and health workers, are spearheading the UK’s efforts to contain and ultimately defeat Ebola.”
Altogether the UK is deploying 750 military personnel, including the navy’s specially equipped hospital ship RFA Argus.
After emerging months ago in eastern Sierra Leone, Ebola is now hitting the western edges of the country where the capital Freetown is located, with dozens of people falling sick each day, the government said.
So many people are dying that removing bodies is a problem.
Forty-nine confirmed cases of Ebola emerged in just one day on Monday, in two Ebola zones in and around the capital, the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) said.
Politician Claude Kamanda, who represents a western area, said more than 20 deaths were being reported daily.
It was also revealed yesterday by Public Health England that screening for Ebola is also due to begin at Gatwick Airport. It started in North Terminal yesterday, then checks will begin at South Terminal from today followed by St Pancras (Eurostar) later this week. The spokesman added: “This expands the screening initiated at Heathrow last week, which is going well. Manchester and Birmingham airports will follow in the coming weeks.
“Screening is being undertaken to help ensure individuals arriving from high-risk areas know what to do if they start feeling ill, and can receive expert advice immediately.
“We are also providing all general practices, emergency departments, and pharmacies in England with awareness posters from this week. Public Health England will continue to consider other appropriate additional measures.”
The screening is taking place for passengers having travelled from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Passengers have their temperature taken and complete a questionnaire to decide whether more action is required.