According to the Obama administration, airline passengers arriving from the three West African countries experiencing an unprecedented Ebola outbreak will now be screened for potential exposure to the deadly disease when they arrive at five major U.S. airports. The screening will include having their temperatures taken.
Moreover a new potential danger the U.S. has to deal with is the wave of illegal immigrants from West Africa who could already be sneaking across the southern border carrying Ebola. Mr. Obama has been told to issue a full-blown travel ban prohibiting citizens of affected countries from entering the U.S., and imposing quarantine on any travelers who arrive from West Africa.
Nevertheless as both the WHO and the Center for Disease Control have noted, closing off borders would only hurt the situation. “We need to get people in and out of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea if we have any hope of stopping the outbreak,” says Epstein. “Foreign medical teams, supplies, lab samples, all kinds of things.” Not only should countries not be isolated, villages with a large number of suspected Ebola cases shouldn’t be quarantined off, either.
Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden has said his organization will soon be implementing new health screening procedures at U.S. airports. It’s part of an ongoing effort to control the spread of Ebola. “We’ll be strengthening our screening procedures both at the source and at entry,” Frieden said at a news conference yesterday. His comments echoed calls for stepped-up screening by President Obama and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
In Washington on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry made a plea for more nations to contribute to the fight against Ebola, saying the international effort was $300 million short of what’s needed. He said that nations need to step up quickly with a wide range of support, from doctors and mobile medical labs to basic humanitarian aid such as food.
The new airport screening will begin Saturday at New York’s JFK International Airport and then expand to Washington Dulles and the international airports in Atlanta, Chicago and Newark, New Jersey. The White House said checks would reach more than 9 of 10 travelers to the U.S. from the outbreak zone.
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