Containing the Ebola Crisis

Caribbean Nations Ban Travelers From Ebola-Hit Regions

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They’ve been described as island paradises and some Caribbean nations want to keep it that way by any means necessary.

According to reports, several have announced travel bans to any foreigner who traveled through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three West African countries hardest hit by the virus.

Countries with bans include Jamaica, Guyana, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia and the Island of St. Lucia.

St Lucia’s Prime Minister said his country is not wealthy and did not have the funds, personnel and capacity “to manage any crisis that lands on our doorstep—any crisis of that kind.”

Passengers from Nigeria would also be required to present a “recent medical certificate” clearing them of the virus he also said.

An outbreak of the virus would wreak havoc on a nation of 200,000 people, where tourism constitutes the bulk of their GDP.

In a statement Jamaica’s ministry of national security notes that the ban covers “certain persons traveling directly or indirectly, from or through” West African countries, where nearly 4,500 people have been killed by the virus.

Colombia has also included the African nation of Senegal as well as Nigeria in their ban.

So far, here in the United States, President Obama has resisted calls to put similar travel bans in place.

CDC director Thomas Frieden concurs cautioning members of Congress that a ban could only make the crisis worse.

He said many West Africans have dual citizenship and that others could come into the country without revealing their point of origin, making them harder to trace.

Closing national borders to people from countries hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak is “not an effective strategy” for stopping the deadly disease, the president of the World Bank said on Thursday.

However some US major airports including JFK will screen passengers for the virus. Similar measures are also in place in a few airports abroad.

EU health ministers agreed on Thursday to try to improve the systems put in place by West African nations to screen departing passengers for Ebola, but disagreed on the need to check travelers arriving in their own countries.

The World Health Organization reports the disease now has a 70% fatality rate. They say if the disease remains unchecked over the next couple months we could  soon see as many as 10,000 cases a week.