Newspaper headlines: Airport Ebola testing 'shambles'

The main story in Britain's national newspapers on New Year's Eve concerns the way in which Ebola-infected nurse Pauline Cafferkey was allowed to pass British airport tests and return to her home in Blantyre, central Scotland.

The Daily Telegraph says health officials have admitted staff could have taken a more "precautionary" approach with Ms Cafferkey, who had told them she was feeling unwell on a stopover at Heathrow Airport.

The nurse was returning from Sierra Leone, where she had been volunteering at an Ebola treatment centre.

Image copyright The Scotsman
Image caption Pauline Cafferkey in Sierra Leone

The paper notes that health officials have traced 101 of the 205 people who travelled with Ms Cafferkey on her flights from Casablanca to Heathrow and Heathrow to Glasgow.

A doctor who travelled back to Heathrow with Ms Cafferkey is quoted in the paper as saying procedures at the airport were "like a cattle market" and "shambolic".

Dr Martin Deahl says, "We were all ushered into a suite of rooms at Border Control but they were very cramped. If no one had come into close contact with the poor nurse on the flight then they certainly would have done at this point.

"We were told we could go home using public transport but then told not to use public transport when we got home or to go into crowded places. Some people had to catch a tube train into London, if that isn't a crowded place then I don't what is."

In its inside pages, the Telegraph carries a partial diary made by Ms Cafferkey for the Scotsman newspaper of her experiences at the centre in Kerry Town in Sierra Leone.

She speaks how colleagues wish each other "good luck" whenever they enter the hospital's "red zone" containing contagious patients, and at her feelings of helplessness when dealing with families where most members have died or are dying.

It is, the paper says, a diary from "the front line of death".

The Daily Mail says Dr Deahl - who worked at a different treatment centre in Sierra Leone to Ms Cafferkey - speculates that she may have contracted the virus at a Christmas church service.

Image copyright Science Photo Library

The paper notes the Sierra Leoneans are "a very tactile people" and children would often want to hug health workers helping them.

Writing in the Guardian, health editor Sarah Boseley says Public Health England (PHE) is caught between expert advice that there is little risk to anyone from air travellers arriving here incubating the disease, and press and political pressure for a more stringent line.

She notes that the virus appears to only transmit at a stage when the patient's body temperature is above 37.5C - and not via sweat or tears at the early stage of fever.

"If you sat beside someone with the virus whose temperature was beginning to rise, you would be very unlikely to catch it," she explains.

The Sun editorial continues the theme. It says "the panic in Britain over Ebola is out of all proportion to its risk to us.

"Yes Ebola has a relatively high fatality rate. But it is hard to catch.

"It doesn't travel through the air and survives only a short time on surfaces. Soap and water kills it."

But while reassuring the public about the virus, the paper also calls for the "amateurish" screening efforts at Britain's airports to be tightened up.

Great dames

It's New Year's Eve, so we get to find out which of the great and the good - and maybe a few not-so-good - have received gongs in the Honours' list.

The Times' coverage focuses on disquiet that Fiona Woolf, the City lawyer who in October was pressurised into quitting her appointment as chair of the government's child abuse inquiry, has been appointed a dame.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dame Fiona Woolf

It quotes Labour MP Simon Danczuk who says Dame Fiona, who "caused a lengthy and avoidable delay to a very serious inquiry" was an inappropriate person to be honoured.

Sir Bob Kerslake, the head of the civil service, tells the paper: "If you look at her citation you will see she has a very distinguished track record, including as lord mayor of London but also as a lawyer."

The Daily Mirror's comment says the 2014 List is full of "Tory donors, Westminster cronies, inept bureaucrats, dreary time-servers and establishment toadies".

It does highlight two CBE recipients as particularly worthy - campaigners Margaret Aspinall and Trevor Hicks, who both founded the campaign for justice for the Hillsborough stadium disaster after both lost children in the 1989 catastrophe.

Mr Hicks tells the paper: "Awarding the honour of a CBE shows how much tide of opinion has changed and is further acknowledgement of the wrongs of the past.

"I hope that people will understand that I have mixed feelings."

The Daily Express says that women "lead the way" in this year's list and it pictures three "great dames": actresses Kristin Scott Thomas and Joan Collins; and fashion designer Mary Quant.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Guardian says the granting of honours to railway executives may anger some of the public

It also notes that the mother of former royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke is among those honoured.

Shan Legge-Bourke becomes a dame for her work as Lord Lieutenant of Powys.

The Guardian says the List features two railway executives who oversaw parts of the network hit by severe disruption caused by over-running engineering work over the Christmas period.

David Ward who manages south-east routes had been quoted before the delays began as saying new technology would keep lines open "with much less disruption" than in the past. He receives an OBE.

Patrick Hallgate, an MBE recipient, works on western routes and was forced to ask travellers to "bear with us" while extensive festive period work took place.

The paper notes passengers continue to face disruption on a number of routes.


The award that gets the Daily Mail's goat is that of Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order to former diplomat Sir David Manning.

Sir David - a one-time policy adviser to Tony Blair - is the man who "brokered the deal that took us into the Iraq War", the paper claims.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Cressida Dick

Another name which the paper believes should not be on the List is Cressida Dick, the former senior policewoman who in 2005 issued orders to stop Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell tube station in London after the electrician had been misidentified as a terrorism suspect.

The innocent Brazilian was shot dead at point-blank range, but Miss Dick - who has been made a CBE "survived the scandal", the paper says.

The Independent lists many of the less well-known names who received an envelope from Buckingham Palace, including 103-year-old marathon runner Fauja Singh; Barbara Roberts, who runs a hedgehog hospital in Manchester; and Hector Cole, who is not only regarded as the country's leading arrowsmith, but also made the gates to Prince Charles's Highgrove House.

Whilst applauding many appointments, the paper's editorial echoes most of Fleet Street by saying;"We still have a hopelessly stuffy way of celebrating public service.

"Why not let the people vote on whom they would like to be honoured?"

The Sun takes its own award for the most risque honours list headline.

Noting the knighthood given to Dr Simon Campbell who helped to develop Viagra, the paper simply headlines its story "arise!"

Moss and twigs

And finally, the final round-up of 2014 of the papers' "lighter" items.

In keeping with the festive period, there's a food theme today.

The Guardian reports that celebrity chef Jamie Oliver reluctantly turned down a chance to appear as a hobbit in one of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jamie Oliver: not destined to become a hobbit

The offer came in return for him cooking a meal for Jackson, but the campaigning cook says, "I was working. I couldn't get out of it. I would have got right into it as well, I'd have taken the costume home."

Perhaps no less unlikely is the thought of lettuce growing on Mars.

The Daily Telegraph reports that by 2018 the University of Southampton hopes to have - in the inevitable pun - "leaf on Mars".

A greenhouse and seeds will be included in the payload of the Mars One mission, the paper explains.

What best to have with a Martian lettuce you ask? How about an alpaca burger?

The Times reports trade in Senara and David Collings' burger van has soared after they began selling burgers, sausages and steaks made from the South American herbivores.

The Collings, who are based in Pelynt, Cornwall, began making "pacaburgers" after slaughtering unwanted male alpacas on their farm.

"The meat is slightly like beef in flavour, but it is almost sweet. It is low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein," Mrs Collings tells the paper.

All of which is very good, but what would the Vikings have made of it?

Image caption Alpacas: this herd is wisely steering clear of Cornwall

For it is the historic, marauding Norseman whose diet is the newest healthy eating craze, as reported in the Daily Mail.

The paper says Danish chefs have created menus shunning olive oil, but featuring whole grains, foraged plants - and moose.

Sardines are also big in the "New Nordic" movement, and Viking nibbles like moss, twigs and edible bark are "incorporated into" dishes at Noma in Copenhagen, currently rated the best restaurant in the world.

Bon appetit!

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