U.S. President Barack Obama met with members of his national security team and senior staff to receive an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the administration’s response efforts at the White House in Washington October 6, 2014.
President Obama said Monday the U.S. government would increase passenger screenings in the United States and Africa to detect the Ebola virus, even as he resisted calls to impose a ban on those traveling from the three countries most affected by the outbreak.
Neither the president nor White House officials elaborated on exactly what those new screenings would entail. At the moment, passengers leaving the three nations most affected by the virus — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — are screened for symptoms at the airport before departing.
Contain the spread of Ebola in West Africa
Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the agency is trying to contain the spread of Ebola in West Africa, stressing that “an outbreak anywhere is potentially a threat everywhere.” He added that the CDC is now looking into the issue of entry screening at the airports.
Ebola in US
The White House officials discussed the Ebola case in Dallas, Texas; the United States’ broader preparedness plans; and both domestic and international efforts to contain and end the epidemic.
Enhance airport screening
Participants & the White House officials also discussed options to enhance airport screening in the United States and the need to tackle Ebola at its source in West Africa, where the United States has launched a civilian-led whole-of-government effort that leverages the unique capabilities of the U.S. military to help bring the epidemic under control.
US – well-prepared to prevent an Ebola outbreak
In remarks following the meeting, the President reiterated that our country’s public health infrastructure is well-prepared to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the United States.
“It is important for Americans to know the facts,” the President said. “Because of the measures that we’ve put in place, as well as our world-class health system and the nature of the Ebola virus itself — which is difficult to transmit — the chance of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low.”
No plans to ban travelers from West Africa
The White House was clear that it has no plans to ban travelers from West Africa. “A travel ban is something that we’re not currently considering,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Public health officials have warned that a complete travel ban would cause economic harm, hinder the delivery of food and supplies and even limit the ability of doctors, nurses and humanitarian workers to travel into those areas.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA