Air travelers from West Africa banned from all but 5 US airports over Ebola fears


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced all travelers from the West African countries stricken with Ebola must travel to the U.S. through one of only five airports.

Travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are being forced to travel through the five airports previously announced as Ebola screening centers for international travelers, officials said in a statement.

Those five airports are New York-JFK, Newark Liberty, Washington, D.C. Dulles, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago O'Hare.

All passengers taking flights from West Africa to these five airports will be subject to "secondary screening and added protocols, including having their temperature taken, before they can be admitted into the United States," officials said.

"We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption," said DHS secretary Jeh Johnson. "If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed."

There presently are no direct flights from those countries into the U.S.

It was also further announced that any passengers who have traveled into the country from West Africa during the preceding 21 days will also be screened for the deadly virus.

The restrictions come one month after Liberian national Thomas Duncan arrived in Dallas on September 20. He died October 8 from Ebola and two nurses have subsequently become infected.

"The Department of Homeland Security's policy to funnel all passengers arriving from Ebola hotspots to one of these five equipped airports is a good and effective step towards tightening the net and further protecting our citizens," said Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).

This may be the first of many steps aimed at stemming the flow of infected people into the U.S.

"We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly," said Johnson.

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