The chief medical officer with the Department of Health has said that all necessary preparations are in place to deal with Ebola.

Dr Tony Holohan told RTÉ’s Six One that the risk of a case occurring here is low.

He said there is a very small number of Irish people in the three countries at the centre of the Ebola outbreak and there are no direct flights between Ireland and these countries.

The risk as a result of people coming into the country with the disease is very low, he said.

The Department of Health is prepared but not complacent in the event that this did occur, he added.

Dr Holohan said that in 2002, the Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers Committee, which deals with Ebola, put plans in place and these were updated in 2012.

He said there was a dry-run in 2103 and the plans were then put in place and operational.

Dr Holohan said these plans provide the operation that has been provided to all health professionals along with personal protective equipment and all of the procedures that guide ambulance, the National Virus Reference Laboratory and our national hospitals up to the national isolation unit at the Mater Hospital.

The Cabinet met to discuss the Ebola crisis, as the World Health Organization warned the virus is accelerating in almost all settings.

The WHO has warned that Ebola is now entrenched in the capital cities of all three worst-affected countries and is accelerating in almost all settings.

It has also warned that the world's response is not keeping up with the disease in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where there is said to be a sharp increase in Ebola cases in the country’s capital, Conakry.

There had been hopes the disease was stabilising in the country, but aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières has said there had been a massive influx of new cases.

The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 3,860 people, mainly in west Africa.

More than 200 health workers are among the victims.

The Health Service Executive has insisted that clear protocols are in place for health staff to manage any suspected case of the Ebola virus in Ireland.

It said there was no sense of complacency and the issue of screening at ports and airports will be considered on an ongoing basis.

However, the Irish Medical Organisation has said the HSE's guidelines on Ebola assume that there is a fully operating and functional service around the country and this is simply not the case.

It has asked for an urgent meeting with the HSE to plan for cases of the Ebola virus.

The IMO said that it did not wish to be alarmist, but doctors needed the resources and structures to deal with any circumstances that may arise.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives' Organisation has asked the HSE to confirm that all the necessary precautions and training is in place for nurses and midwives who may be in contact with people presenting with suspected Ebola.

The Cabinet was briefed today on preparations for what officials say is a "low risk" of the Ebola virus coming to Ireland.

As Chairperson of the Emergency Group dealing with Ebola, Minister for Defence Simon Coveney said plans were in place to deal with any incident.

He defended the decision not to screen people at airports but said the overall strategy would be kept under review.

The HSE said GPs and hospital staff have been given clear protocols on managing a suspect or real case of Ebola.

The National Ambulance Service has arrangements in place for a garda escort for the transfer of any patient with suspected Ebola to the 12-bed National Isolation Unit at the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

However, Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said it remains unclear whether proper precautions were in place.

He called for a clear statement from Government on the issue.

Spain aims to deal with 'complex' situation

Spain has launched a crisis committee to tackle the "complex and difficult" Ebola situation there, after drawing criticism over its handling of the case of a Madrid nurse infected with the deadly virus.

Spanish Deputy Premier Soraya Saenz de Santamaria earlier visited the Carlos III hospital where the infected nurse is being treated.

She said the situation was "complex and difficult," but added she was "absolutely convinced" that everything necessary would be done to beat the crisis.

The 44-year-old nurse, Teresa Romero, was diagnosed with the haemorrhagic fever Ebola on Monday, a week after first feeling ill.

She had earlier cared for two elderly missionaries before they died from the virus after getting infected in west Africa and were repatriated to Spain.

Officials are investigating what lapse in health safety protocol led to Ms Romero being infected and why it took a week for medics to admit her to hospital.

Health workers' unions say training and equipment at the Carlos III hospital were insufficient.

The deputy prime minister told a news conference the government was working "to give the best care possible to Teresa Romero, to transmit calm to the population and to coordinate our actions".

Ms Saenz said she herself would head the new committee, which will bring together Health Minister Ana Mato and representatives of various other ministries.

Angry health workers have protested, calling for the health minister and other officials of the conservative governing Popular Party to resign over their handling of the nurse's case.

A separate "scientific committee" will be set up to advise the new government body on Ebola, Ms Saenz added.

Seven people turned themselves in last night to the Ebola isolation unit in Madrid where Ms Romero is being treated.

A hospital spokeswoman said there were now 14 people in the isolation unit on its sealed-off sixth floor, including Ms Romero, her husband, and health workers who had cared for the nurse since she was admitted on Monday.

None had so far tested positive for the disease except Ms Romero, whose condition was described by the hospital as serious but stable.

Meanwhile, a 33-year-old US photojournalist who became infected with Ebola while working in Liberia has shown a modest improvement in his health in recent days.

Ashoka Mukpo arrived at Nebraska Medical Center on 6 October and was able to walk off the plane that evacuated him from west Africa.

He remained in stable condition in the days that followed, said a hospital statement.

On Friday, the hospital said he had "shown a very modest improvement from his condition over the past few days".

"Mr. Mukpo's condition is slightly improved," said Phil Smith, Medical Director of the Biocontainment Unit at The Nebraska Medical Center.

"He's been taking in some fluids and drinking Gatorade. But everyone needs to be reminded that this is still a very serious illness we're dealing with and no one has a lot of experience treating it."

Mukpo received an experimental antiviral drug, brincidofovir, and a blood transfusion from Ebola survivor Kent Brantly, a missionary doctor who was sickened with the virus over the summer.

Mukpo is the fifth American who was infected with Ebola in West Africa and whose return to the United States was aided by State Department.