US tightens restrictions on passengers from West Africa
KONFRONTASI -The United States has tightened restrictions on passengers from three West African countries affected by the deadly Ebola virus.
The Department of Homeland Security said on Tuesday it would begin requiring all travelers coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to land only at the five US airports with extra health checks. The new measures would go into effect Wednesday.
The five airports -- New York's JFK or Newark airports, Washington Dulles, Atlanta or Chicago -- have already imposed extra screening and other heightened security measures established to halt the spread of Ebola.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, "We currently have in place measures to identify and screen anyone at all land, sea and air ports of entry into the United States who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the preceding 21 days."
“We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people, and will act accordingly,” he stated.
Republican Congressman Michael McCaul welcomed the DHS move as "a common sense proposal."
However, he called for stricter security measures in order to keep West Africa travelers away from the United Sates.
"I continue to call on the administration to suspend all visas from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea," he said in a statement.
The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has said that the Ebola outbreak has so far left about 4,500 dead.
One of the victims was American Thomas Eric Duncan who died after traveling from Liberia. Two nurses who treated Duncan contracted the virus and now are receiving treatment.
House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday called on President Barack Obama to “absolutely consider” travel ban on passengers coming to the United States from West African countries.
However, Obama said the travel ban would not be effective against the spread of the deadly disease.
A new poll shows nearly two-thirds of Americans are worried about the spread of the Ebola epidemic across the US.
According to the results published on Tuesday, 65 percent of the respondents voiced concerns over the epidemic.[presstv]