Lawmakers Are Demanding that Obama Approve a Travel Ban

President Barack Obama speaks to the media about the fight against the Ebola virus after meeting Thursday with health advisers in the Oval Office. (Photo: Pool, Getty Images)
President Barack Obama speaks to the media about the fight against the Ebola virus after meeting Thursday with health advisers in the Oval Office.
(Photo: Pool, Getty Images)

As calls grow louder for a travel ban to prevent flights or deny visitors from West Africa, President Obama remains opposed to blocking travel from the three Ebola outbreak countries.

Lawmakers have repeatedly used the phrase travel ban without defining it. A travel ban could take several forms, but all have challenges.

A flight ban would have no impact because there are no direct flights between the U.S. and Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Suspending visas would affect only citizens of those countries, but not thousands of health-care workers and military troops fighting the disease — even as two of the three patients diagnosed in the U.S. were nurses.

Obama and his health advisers argue that hindering travel would allow the outbreak to widen in West Africa as travelers seek ways to evade the official restrictions.

“If we institute a travel ban instead of the protocols that we’ve put in place now, history shows that there is a likelihood of increased avoidance,” Obama said Thursday. “They’re less likely to get treated properly, screened properly, quarantined properly. And as a consequence, we could end up having more cases rather than less.”

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Source: USA Today | Bart Jansen

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