Mumbai : Expressing concern over a large number of Indians returning home after suspecting to have contracted Ebola virus in African countries, the Bombay High Court Thursday asked the Centre and Maharashtra government to file a reply on September 2 stating what steps had been taken by them to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

The direction was given by a bench of Justices Abhay Oka and G S Kulkarni which asked both the governments to inform whether India was fully equipped to treat the people who had contracted ‘Ebola’ virus.

The court also sought to know what measures had been taken so far to prevent the spread of the virus which was considered a life-threatening disease.

The Judges observed this was a serious matter and the government must ensure that enough steps were taken to ensure that ‘Ebola’ virus does not spread in India.

Senior Counsel, Rui Rodrigues, who appeared on behalf of the Union Health Ministry, said the government was fully prepared to tackle the situation and would take adequate steps in this regard. However, he sought time to seek instructions in this regard.

The PIL, filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar, also sought a direction to the Union Home Ministry to issue a notice to the Mumbai international airport to prevent passengers arriving from West African countries from alighting from the aircraft.

The petitioner pleaded that India was not equipped to prevent the spread of the virus. He said 112 passengers had recently arrived in Mumbai from Liberia and were quarantined. The PIL pleaded that USA and South Asia had banned alighting of passengers from West African nations into their territories and India was lagging behind in this regard.

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