Though the Obama administration has insisted travel bans are not necessary, even countries outside of Africa are beginning to start such travel bans, with Colombia and the Caribbean island of St. Lucia on Wednesday adding their names to a growing list of nearly 30 countries that block travelers from virus-stricken Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. African nations including Kenya, Zambia, and South Africa make up the bulk of the countries that have instituted some kind of ban, and now that countries on the other side of the Atlantic have begun imposing restrictions, calls for the U.S. to follow suit have intensified. Here is the complete list of nations with bans or significant travel restrictions:
Morocco House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama to consider a temporary ban after two American nurses contracted the virus from a Liberian man who flew to Dallas to visit family, according to CBS News, "In a September 16 speech in Atlanta, President Obama said the 'chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low.' Since that time, several Americans have been diagnosed with the virus and untold more potentially exposed to it," Boehner said in a statement. "A temporary ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the virus is something that the president should absolutely consider along with any other appropriate actions as doubts about the security of our air travel systems grow." Doubts about the federal government's ability to manage the Ebola threat without some sort of travel restriction increased late Wednesday when it was revealed that Amber Joy Vinson, the 29-year-old nurse who tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, had flown on a Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to Dallas on Monday. She reportedly called the CDC several times before the flight, reporting that she had a fever of 99.5. At least one CDC representative told her it was fine to fly, however, because according to its guidelines travel should only be avoided when a patient has a temperature of 100.4 or higher. The Obama administration ordered passengers from the Ebola affected countries to undergo screening at five airports late last week, and said heavier restrictions were at this point unnecessary. Administration officials pointed out that, so far, only one traveler carrying Ebola has flown to the U.S., and the disease can only be contracted from contact with bodily fluids. Federal officials and the World Health Organization have further discouraged travel bans because they fear it could hurt the already fragile economies of the Ebola affected countries. Many critics of the Obama administration have accused it of not instituting a ban because it might affect the upcoming midterm elections, or because a ban might be seen as politically incorrect.
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