A father worried about the spread of the Ebola virus is keeping his daughter off school after being told she could not wear a protective face mask.
Jon O’Brien, from Bedford, withdrew his 13-year-old from Sharnbrook Upper School when he was told it would be ‘unnecessary’ for her to wear a mask in class.
He said:“I emailed the school with the request and was told it would be unnecessary. What is unnecessary about a parent wanting to protect their child?”
The businessman and philanthropist said while there is no current case of Ebola in the UK, he believes it is only a matter of time until cases are reported – and the public should be prepared.
He said: “You can catch Ebola by being sneezed on. It’s in all bodily fluids. And now, we’re told there is a 70 per cent chance people in West Africa will die if they contract it.
“This is being played down by the Government because they don’t want mass hysteria.”
Mr O’Brien has bought 100 medical face masks for his family and is sceptical airport screening will prevent infected people entering the country. He said: “Asking people if they feel OK and taking their temperature is too little, too late. I’d say this is a lot more serious than our government says.”
While Mr O’Brien considers allowing his daughter to return to school, he hopes his action will encourage people to think seriously about the possibility of an epidemic in the UK. He said: “My employees are making jokes about Ebola. That is how stupid the general public can be.
“The school was unable to answer my questions. If my daughter is safe this week, she might not be next week.
“I don’t care if people think I am mad. If this happens, I will be ready to take it on.”
When contacted Sharnbrook Upper School said it did not want to comment. However, in an email sent to Mr O’Brien it stated: “We follow the advice we are given. At the moment there is no reported case in UK.
“There is no threat so the use of mask is unnecessary. Your daughter should attend as normal.”