Ebola travel restrictions have just been mandated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). All air travelers must now be funneled through only five United States airports. The Ebola virus protection rule includes “enhanced screening” guidelines and begins tomorrow.
All passengers from the West Africa countries where an Ebola outbreak is ongoing will now have to fly into New York’s JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta and Chicago.
U.S. Border Patrol agents initiated enhanced Ebola screenings at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on October 11, according to USA Today. The same screening process for individuals traveling from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea began on October 16 at Chicago O’Hare, Dulles, New Jersey’s Newark and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airports. The government agents at those airports were reportedly told to screen 94 percent of the 150 people who arrive from those destinations per day, on average, at each airport.
Lawmakers from states not included in the enhanced screening guidelines are also calling for tighter health security measures. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson had something to say about the Ebola travel restrictions and enhanced screenings.
“We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly. We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption.”
Virginia Republican and House Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte supports the new Ebola screenings and travel restrictions but still feels more can and should be done to protect American lives. “[I’m] glad that the Obama administration is showing more concern about the possibility of people infected with Ebola entering the United States and spreading this deadly disease.” Goodlatte is among the lawmakers calling for at least a temporary travel ban on foreigners attempting to come into the United States from the Ebola outbreak zones in West Africa.
New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer called the enhanced screening and Ebola travel restrictions an “added layer of protection” against the deadly virus entering America. President Barack Obama still opposed an all-out Ebola travel ban, according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. The staffer did add that the president called the DHS Ebola travel restrictions announced earlier today an example of actions that can be enacted in order to protect Americans.
American Airlines representative Katie Cody said approximately nine travelers per day from the Ebola zone arrived at the airports no longer allowed to accept passengers from three West African countries anyway, so the airline does not have any concerns about travel delays.
What do you think about the Ebola travel restrictions?
[Image via: Euro News]