Obama Changes Ebola Travel Rules

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The White House has slightly tightened restrictions on travelers from Ebola-stricken countries by requiring all travelers from West African to use one of five airports bolstered with trained screeners.

The change follows weeks of growing pressure from voters and from Democratic and Republican legislators. Some activists have called for the exclusion of visiting non-Americans who have been in the disease-stricken countries within the last 21 days, so the visitors have time to show they’re not infected.

But Obama’s new rules are far weaker than protections adopted by African countries, or even rules set by Harvard University.

For example, Rwandan officials have barred the entry of people who have been in Ebola-stricken countries within the last 22 days.

The White House’s Oct. 21 announcement was coupled with a renewed declaration of opposition to curbs on foreign arrivals from Ebola plagued countries.

“Our view of the travel ban has not changed,” spokesman Josh Earnest said Oct. 21.

“It is the view of the president… that it is strengthens our security measures and keeps the American people safe to keep those lane of travel open,” he said, adding that the president’s views might changed by advice from scientists.

“The president is open to it; he is not philosophically opposed to a travel ban,” said Earnest.

Currently, airline employees in Africa screen people before they are seated in aircraft, he said.

But many of the infected people can carry the disease for roughly two weeks without showing symptoms. For example, the Liberian who infected two Americans nurses in early October flew into the United States on Sept. 20 without showing symptoms.

Despite Earnest’s claim, Obama may be ideologically opposed to travel curbs that would effectively deny them rights available to Americans. That’s a reflection of his believe in progressive and globalist ideas, which favor transnational organizations — such as the United Nations —and opposes national rights, such as curbs on immigration.

But many countries in Africa are actually barring the entry of people from Ebola countries.

Those exclusions helped Senegal wipe out a local Ebola outbreak. They’ve also helped keep Ebola patients out of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Rwanda and many other other nations that are vulnerable to Ebola infections.

The government in Rwanda also even pushed back against the United States, by demanding that visiting Americans report their medical condition each day.

That demand follows the decision by an elementary school in New jersey to temporally excluded two immigrants from Rwanda, which is actually 2,800 miles distance from the diseased territories.

Ebola has killed at least 4,000 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, and is on track to kill tens of thousands of people in those countries.

The improved travel curbs were announced Oct. 21 by Jeh Johnston, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

“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,” he said.

The airports are New York’s JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta and Chicago.

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