Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Emerging Threats | Ted Cruz | Ebola | airlines | West Africa | CDC

Ted Cruz: Ban Air Travel From African States Battling Ebola

By    |   Wednesday, 15 October 2014 07:06 AM

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said it would be reasonable to keep people from Ebola-stricken African countries from entering the United States, The Dallas Morning News reported.

"Common sense dictates that we should impose a travel ban on commercial airline flights from nations afflicted by Ebola. There's no reason to allow ongoing commercial air traffic [to the U.S.] out of those countries."

Characterizing Ebola as both a public health and national security threat, Cruz said the United States should use military transports to send medical workers and aid supplies.

"Health care personnel can be brought in on military C-130 flights," he said. "The risks of epidemic are far too large for us to allow unimpeded commercial flights," the Dallas News reported.

A solid majority of Americans agree that entry to the country should be restricted for travelers from countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea hard hit by the Ebola virus,  polls show.

Public health authorities, including officials at the World Health Organization, say a ban would make things worse by making it harder to get aid and supplies to areas where the disease is now centered.

"If that were to happen, it would spread for more months and potentially to other countries, and that would increase rather than decrease the risk to Americans," said Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Dallas News.

There are no U.S. airlines that offer direct flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Travelers typically make connecting flights in Europe.

The International Air Transport Association continues to adhere to a policy enunciated in July opposing  a ban on flights to the region. The CDC has issued guidelines to airlines on how to handle suspected cases of Ebola.

About 150 travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea enter the U.S. daily, according to the CDC. Passengers arriving at five U.S. airports that handle almost all travel from West Africa are now being screened. The airports are JFK International in New York, Newark, Atlanta, Chicago O'Hare and Washington Dulles, the Dallas News reported.

Cruz said that while screening was "a positive step" it did not "go nearly far enough" since people can be carrying the virus yet be asymptomatic, the Dallas News reported.

Some 27 lawmakers, among them three Democrats, have written to the White House urging the administration to ignore World Health Organization opposition to a flight ban, Digital News reported.

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Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz says "common sense" supports banning commercial air travel into the United States from the Ebola-stricken countries of West Africa.
Ebola, airlines, West Africa, CDC, WHO
406
2014-06-15
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 07:06 AM
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