African student refused room in Norwich over Ebola fears

14/10/14

Amara Bangura

Starting university is meant to be an exciting time but for Amara Bangura it has been a bit too eventful.

He's been refused somewhere to stay because he comes from Ebola hotspot, Sierra Leone.

Amara arrived in Norwich from West Africa a fortnight ago and was turned down by two landlords - one by letter.

Both were happy for him to stay until he handed over his passport and they realised he was from a country at the centre of the current epidemic.

It's very unreasonable. And if you think everybody coming from Sierra Leone is affected, then that's just completely unfair
Amara Bangura

He told Newsbeat that he was "devastated to be turned down".

The letter said: "Under normal circumstance. Your profile would be a great profile to be one of our lodgers.

"However, given that the world is about to probably experience an Ebola epidemic, we have decided not to accept anyone that has been anywhere near the ebola outbreak within the last two months, or is likely to visit those areas in the near future."

Amara, 35, told Newsbeat that it is wrong to assume all people from Sierra Leone carry the disease.

He says: "It's very unreasonable. And if you think everybody coming from Sierra Leone is affected, then that's just completely unfair."

The good news for Amara is that after a few weeks of looking, he's found somewhere to stay so he can continue his studies.

More than 4,400 people have died in the Ebola outbreak, mainly in West Africa.

Britain has now begun screening passengers at Heathrow airport.

People arriving from the worst-affected countries will be questioned and may have their temperatures taken.

BBC launches WhatsApp Ebola service

Your questions answered

Professor Tom Solomon (@RunningMadProf) is an expert on diseases like Ebola and how they spread.

How worried should we be here in the UK?

I think we should be worried about Ebola in West Africa because sadly the cases have gone up and up but the situation in the UK is very different from the situation in West Africa.

Was the landlord right to be so cautious?

I understand why people are concerned about Ebola but what people need to do is look at the facts and then make sensible decisions. You're not going to get Ebola from renting your flat to someone from Sierra Leone.

How do people get Ebola?

Ebola is passed on if someone is in contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is actually sick with the disease. So clearly letting out your property wont put people at risk.

Is the virus going to become airborne?

There is no evidence that the virus is airborne and we have never seen the virus change and become airborne - so there is no evidence to say that this will happen here.

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