News / Africa

US Lawmaker: Ban Travel to US from Ebola-stricken Countries

FILE - House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., listens to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testify before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 1, 2009.
FILE - House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., listens to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testify before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 1, 2009.
James Butty

A U.S. congressman has asked the Obama administration to impose an immediate travel ban on the citizens of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as on foreigners who have visited those countries, to contain the spread of Ebola to the United States.  

Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, said the restriction should be lifted only when 90 days have passed without a newly reported case.  

He said the ban should be expanded to any other country that reports a case of Ebola.  

Danger to American public

Grayson said the Ebola virus presents an enhanced danger to the American public.

“The countries represent a danger to the rest of the world and because the best way to deal with the situation is to isolate the areas that are affected until hopefully the infection burns itself out, as it has in the past," Grayson said. "We are talking about this time a fundamentally different circumstance, however.

"This is the largest outbreak in history; it’s the deadliest outbreak in history,” he added.

Grayson said, with Liberia already taking steps to close its borders, his travel ban request will only be assisting in that effort by saying that the Ebola-affected countries remain isolated until the infection disappears.

He said his travel ban, if granted by the Obama administration, would not include Nigeria, at least for now.

“Under the definition set forth in my letter, not yet, because the only case we’ve seen so far in Nigeria is the case that originated in Liberia," Grayson said. "So, there hasn’t been, as yet, any case that originated in Nigeria or anywhere other than the three countries I named in the letter – Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia."

The U.S. Peace Corps announced Wednesday it was temporarily removing its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea due to the increasing spread of the Ebola virus.

Returning Americans

Grayson said the travel ban he’s requesting would only apply to foreign visitors to the United States and not Americans returning from abroad.

“If they are Americans, then we’re expecting that, when they return, they’ll take prudent measures," he said.

"There are ways that can be employed to try to identify people who have been infected, and I would hope that they will voluntarily and enthusiastically submit themselves to those tests so that we can make sure that, if they are returning, they’re not returning with disease,” Grayson said.

The World Health Organization recently said nearly 700 people have died from Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone during the current outbreak of the virus that began in February.

There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola, which is characterized by fever, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, and unstoppable bleeding from areas such as the eyes, ears and nose.

Butty interview with Congressman Grayson
Butty interview with Congressman Graysoni
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This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Tom from: Connecticut
August 02, 2014 9:36 PM
I wander if the congressman understands the impact of such action as a travel ban. A travel ban would mean imposition of economic hardship on a people that are already struggling to fight a deadly outbreak with limited resources.
If the congressman can do a little research or just Google "Ebola" he will find that this is NOT an air-borne disease There are publish information about ways to prevent the spread of Ebola.
You should be talking about SENDING medical experts or money to help stop the infection, NOT banning travel.
In Response

by: Douglas from: Cleveland, Ohio
August 09, 2014 11:17 AM
It is time to ban all travel to and from Africa to the U.S. This includes Americans returning from Africa. For a disease that is not supposed to be spread through the air, it is spreading very quickly. That, coupled with the fact there is no known cure, means all travel to and from Africa to U.S. should be stopped immedialely.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
July 31, 2014 2:48 PM
Racism against Africans comes out from different corner for smokescreen reasons. That's all too common! WHO vehemently recommended against travel ban because it assured the world that Ebola spread risk is extremely very low. But Congressman Alan Grayson, for his own race agenda and scary tactic reason, trying ways to to have all black people from African be enlisted to US' No-Fly List program. That kind of agenda will never work!

by: John Thorton from: Kennesaaw
July 31, 2014 1:23 PM
Nancy Writebol fought for her life against Ebola hemorrhagic fever on Thursday.

While she did, the virus that befell the American missionary in Liberia as she worked to save its victims continued on a rampage through West Africa. It is believed to have killed 729 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria from March through July 27, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

It is the worst Ebola outbreak in history. There is no cure and no vaccine, but care from medical workers so far has helped sustain the lives of nearly half of those stricken.

Writebol's family is praying that her life is spared, too.

"U.S. government officials are in ongoing talks to bring Writebol and another Ebola-stricken American, fellow aid worker Dr. Kent Brantly, back from Liberia, an administration official and a State Department source said on Thursday." You may be too late if you don't stop this plan..

by: Alice Monger from: Georgia
July 31, 2014 12:25 PM
Thank you. But I suggest you add Nigerians because they also have been commuting to and from Liberia, Sierraleone and Guinea for business, I am sure.

by: Donald Nat-George from: Friosco, Texas
July 31, 2014 11:28 AM
I hear the congressman loud and clear but I was also expecting him to appeal for an ebola vaccine research which I consider the best weapon against that infectious disease.
In Response

by: Mike from: Connecticut
July 31, 2014 4:53 PM
Actually the best defense against this and other hemorrhagic fevers is quarantining and letting it run its course whether the victim lives or dies. Vaccine is a long-term solution to a contained epidemic, so wasting resources on a vaccine in the short-term doesn't do much to prevent its spread.

by: Ewart Padgett from: Tennessee
July 31, 2014 10:24 AM
The travel ban Mr. Grayson proposes is intended to prevent the spread of Ebola to the U.S. and should include returning Americans, they being no less likely to be Ebola carriers than those who live in the affected areas.

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