With the outbreak of Ebola in the U.S. why won’t the Obama administration shut down all incoming flights to the U.S. from Ebola stricken West Africa? Thomas Eric Duncan arrived in Texas on the 20th of September on a flight that departed from West Africa. He fell ill on September 24th and was later confirmed of having the Ebola virus. Authorities have said repeatedly that there is no danger of anyone getting sick from flying with Duncan because he was not symptomatic at the time.
Globally, airlines have been taking an array of precautions. Air France has suspended flights to Ebola-ravaged Sierra Leone. Asky Airlines, Nigeria’s Arik Air, Gambia Bird and Kenya Airlines have followed suit. They also have grounded flights to and from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
British Airways extended their suspension of flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone until Dec. 31. Emirates Airlines suspended its flights to Guinea, while Korean Air cut off contact to and from Kenya beginning Aug. 20.
Other carriers such as Royal Air Maroc and Brussels Airlines have modified their routes but still are operating regularly scheduled services to African nations.
Seven countries have implemented Ebola-related travel restrictions. Among them is Gambia, which recently banned the entry of flights from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
So the question remains, why the United States still allow flights from West Africa even after Ebola has been brought into the country in this manor?
Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are already economically isolated because this epidemic has spread far wider and lasted much longer than any other Ebola outbreak in history. What those countries need most now is assistance from the world.
More flight restrictions will only make it more difficult for life-saving aid and medical professionals to reach West Africa. The restrictions already in place have proved so problematic that U.S. military forces are building an “air bridge” to get health workers and medical supplies to affected areas.
“Any discontinuation of transport will affect humanitarian aid, doctors, nurses and human resources entering the country, the transfer of biological sampling and equipment for hospitals,” Daniel Menucci, a representative for the World Health Organization Travel and Transport Task Force, said in August. “All of this needs international transporting, international airlines. This will create more problems in helping the countries most affected.”
At what point will the administration feel that the risk of causing a pandemic in the U.S. potentially resulting in thousands if not millions dying from Ebola? (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ebola-could-infect-one-half-million-soon-says-cdc-1467514) Recently there has been a petition going viral on the internet petitioning the United States Government to stop incoming flights from West Africa into the U.S. (http://www.brennerbrief.com/white-house-petition-stop-flights-west-africa-ebola-crisis-resolved/)
I feel we should look at the risk of leaving the door open so to say, for this incredibly deadly virus to take hold in the U.S. There should only be essential aid and medical flights to and from West Africa until this outbreak is contained and there is no more clear and present danger of being transmitted into the United States and possibly collapsing our medical and economic structure.