Tags: | Ebola Outbreak | Mitch McConnell | travel bans | ebola | CDC

McConnell Now Says Travel Bans 'Make a Lot of Sense'

Image: McConnell Now Says Travel Bans 'Make a Lot of Sense'
(Pablo Alcala-Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 Oct 2014 09:37 AM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has changed his mind on imposing flight restrictions for passengers coming from West African countries where the Ebola virus has killed thousands of people.

"I would like to see a travel ban," McConnell told Fox News' Neil Cavuto
Tuesday. "I think it seems to me to make a lot of sense."

But just two weeks ago, McConnell said lawmakers should listen to expert advice about controlling Ebola rather than rush to enact flight bans.

"I think we ought to listen to what the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] thinks they need either in terms of financing or certainly they'll decide the procedures for travel and all the rest," McConnell told NBC News in an interview, reports The Huffington Post.  "I think we need to follow the advice of the experts who know how to fight scourges like this."

The White House and health experts say that travel bans could make the Ebola situation worse, while discouraging health professionals from traveling to West Africa to fight the disease.

With his new statements, McConnell has joined forces with at least 40 lawmakers going on record to seek a travel ban, reports The Huffington Post.

The push is coming as next week's election comes closer, with Republicans and some Democrats looking to accuse President Barack Obama of failing to lead through the Ebola
crisis and other issues.

McConnell told Cavuto that he hopes health professionals are right, but meanwhile, banning travel is a good idea.

But even though the senator was advising caution two weeks ago, a campaign spokesperson said Tuesday that he had made similar comments about a travel ban at that time too, but did not elaborate about how he has brought the two positions together.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden says that bans would be counterproductive, as medical authorities need to be able to trace an infected person's actions, but people may start hiding their symptoms to avoid the ban.

"Right now we know who's coming in," Frieden told a House committee earlier this month, reports The National Journal. "If we try to eliminate travel, it's possible that some come from ... other places [and] we won't know where they've been."

Dallas nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson remain the only two Americans to contract Ebola while on U.S. soil. They were infected while treating Liberian immigrant Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of the disease. Both Pham and Vinson have been declared as disease free, and are no longer hospitalized.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,has changed his mind on imposing flight restrictions for passengers coming from West African countries where the Ebola virus has killed thousands of people.
Mitch McConnell, travel bans, ebola, CDC
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2014-37-29
Wednesday, 29 Oct 2014 09:37 AM
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