The US has restricted the entry of passengers from the three Ebola-stricken West African nations to five major airports conducting enhanced screening for the virus, safeguarding its citizens from the epidemic.
The US Department of Homeland Security yesterday announced the restrictions on the passengers whose trips originated in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea.
From today, such travellers are required to fly into one of five major airports include at New York’s John F Kennedy, New Jersey’s Newark, Washington Dulles, Atlanta, and Chicago’s O’Hare international airports, where strict screening systems have been put in place.
“Today, I am announcing that all passengers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place,” Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, said.
“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption.
“If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travellers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed,” he said.
These five airports handle 94% of travellers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where more than 4,000 people have died of the devastating virus.
“At present there are no direct, non-stop commercial flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to any airport in the United States,” he said, adding that the US has measures to identify and screen anyone at every single entry point who has been present in the three West African nations.
US President Barack Obama has pushed his national security team to determine if additional travel restrictions could be put in place that would make the American public more safe, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
Meanwhile, Indian-American Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed an executive order requiring that state officials monitor travel to and from the three Ebola-hit countries.
He is very critical of the Obama Administration’s response to the deadly virus, alleging ‘nothing can match the horror of watching our government’s bumbling and ineffective response to this serious public health crisis’.