He also stated that South Africans coming from Ebola-affected West African countries would be questioned, and medically examined if need be.

“Cabinet noted with concern the extent of the outbreak and the increase of cases in three of these countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – over the last week,” Motsoaledi said.

“Cabinet recognised that even though the outbreak has been limited to these countries in West Africa, the spread to other countries needs to be contained.”

As a result of this, South Africa is banning travellers, from the three West African countries, from entering the country, apart from its own citizens.

“All South Africans are hereby advised to avoid non-essential travel to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone,” said the minister.

“South Africans are not restricted from travelling to these countries, however all returning travellers from these countries will be subjected to rigorous screening and medical assessments before being allowed entry into the country.” 

Motsoaledi added that a decision had been taken to establish an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to deal with the coordination of the response.

“Cabinet further approved funding requested by the Department of Health to the tune of 32.5 million rand, from the African Renaissance Fund to support containment and prevent further spread of the virus to South Africa and other countries,” he said.

“Part of the funds will be used to deploy the mobile laboratory in Sierra Leone, fund transport and accommodation for the team and training for health care workers.”

The deadly Ebola disease has killed more than 1,300 people this year in the three, small West African states and also has a toehold in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy.

However, travellers from Nigeria, where there is a much smaller outbreak, will be allowed entry.

Additional reporting by Reuters