US will not turn back flights over Ebola outbreak: White House

Washington: Asserting that there was "no significant risk" to the country from the Ebola outbreak, the White House has ruled out turning back flights coming to the US and said there are screening measures in place to ward off threats from the disease.

"No, not at this point," the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters when asked if the flights coming to the US would be turned back over Ebola. "At this point, there are screenings that are in place both before individuals board flights in their home countries or where these flights originate, but also after these individuals arrive here in the United States they're screened once again," he said.

"There are facilities available that if an individual is detected exhibiting these symptoms, that they can be quarantined and promptly evaluated by a medical professional," he added. The Centers for Disease Control, which is in close coordination with the World Health Organisation and other multilateral organisations, he said, has assessed that there is "no significant risk" to the United States from this current Ebola outbreak.

"It's important for the public to understand that the reason that it's important to identify the symptoms is you're not contagious unless you exhibit the symptoms of this disease. That's what differentiates it from a common cold or the flu, where, of course, individuals can be contagious before they start exhibiting the symptoms," he added.

"It's also important for people to understand that this disease is not transmitted through the air, it's not transmitted through the water, and it would not be transmitted through food here in the United States. That's why the CDC has assessed that there's no significant risk to the United States from this current Ebola outbreak," Earnest said.

The United States Secret Service and the State Department have ensured that their officers are properly trained to identify individuals coming from Africa who are exhibiting these symptoms. Meanwhile the US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr Tom Frieden consulted yesterday with the President of Guinea Alpha Conde, and senior officials from Liberia and Sierra Leone about the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.

The group identified national and regional priorities and held intensive discussions on the types of assistance needed to mount an effective response. Burwell and Frieden reiterated US engagement and support for efforts to control the outbreak and address the challenge. The discussions took place on the margins of the US-African Leaders Summit now taking place in Washington.

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