The United States Department of Homeland Security has initiated a policy of screening travelers from the three most Ebola stricken countries. Passengers flying out of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone will be required to fly into one of five airports that have been chosen to provide mandatory, intensive evaluations for symptoms of the virus.
The restrictions were announced yesterday and will be going into effect today. All passengers from these countries, regardless of their places of origin, will be rerouted to one of these airports, being that there are no nonstop flights from any of the countries designated for restriction. Passengers, whether traveling by air or see will be routed to one of these national entry points.
The international airports chosen for providing the screenings are John F. Kennedy in New York, Newark in New Jersey, Dulles Washington, Atlanta Georgia, and O’Hare in Chicago.
These airports already account for approximately 94 percent of those traveling from the three countries. The other six percent, an average of nine passengers daily, have been arriving elsewhere. This indicates that travel disruption for the majority of people will be minimal.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson gave a statement to the press: “We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption,” he said. “If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for re-booking, as needed.”
The newly implemented precautionary measures are intended to be an alternative to instituting a travel ban for the most affected regions. The virus has claimed more than 4,500 lives, making it the worst Ebola outbreak on record.
However, since the discovery of three cases in the U.S., claiming one life so far, there has been a push by lawmakers and the general public for the Obama administration to enact strict measures in order to prevent the spreading of the virus in the United States.
According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, three fourths of 1,602 surveyed are in favor of a ban on civilian air travel from these three countries. A Gallup poll on Tuesday indicated that Ebola has become one of the top 10 concerns for the general public. These attitudes have been on the incline, despite assurances from Centers for Disease Control officials that the likelihood of the virus becoming epidemic in the U.S. Are remote.