Britain must be prepared for the Ebola outbreak to worsen, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said as he prepares to outline the next steps he intends to take to prevent an outbreak in the UK.

Hunt said he would give the latest estimate of the number of cases likely to emerge in the UK in the next three months, when he made a statement in the Commons later on Monday.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is a question of being prepared; at present the number of [global] cases is doubling every three to four weeks. At present the numbers are very low, but we have to be prepared for it getting a lot worse.”

Hunt praised the 650 NHS staff who had “volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way to go out to west Africa – one of the most dangerous places in the world healthwise”.

He said the advice from Public Health England was that the risk of Ebola to people living in the UK remained low.

As part of the country’s strategy to deal with the virus, calls to the NHS’s non-emergency 111 phoneline were to be screened for possible Ebola sufferers.

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