Monday, October 13, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott: Restrict International Travel To Stop Ebola Virus

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Florida Governor Rick Scott said last week that the U.S. should consider international travel restrictions to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus.  


He also requested more equipment from the federal government to help the Sunshine State prepare for an Ebola outbreak.


“We are still urging the President to fulfill our request for 30 testing kits the state has requested from the CDC and an additional 100 units of high-level protective gear. Florida still does not have any confirmed cases of Ebola, and we hope we never do, but we must continue to do everything possible to keep our citizens and our visitors safe," Scott said after a briefing with Florida health and emergency officials and a conference call with President Obama.


“As to the discussion on international travel restrictions, I agree with Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Bobby Jindal that the White House needs to look at certain restrictions on travel from countries battling Ebola to keep Americans safe," said Scott.  "This is not a partisan decision. It is a common sense decision. I assume the administration is doing everything they can to secure our country and combat the spread of this disease. That is what we are doing in Florida and I assume they are taking the same steps at the federal level.”



Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security's Customs & Border Protection (CBP) began new layers of entry screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.


New York's JFK International Airport began the new screening on Saturday.  In the 12 months ending July 2014, JFK received nearly half of travelers from the three West African nations. The enhanced entry screening at Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O'Hare, and Atlanta international airports will be implemented this week. 


"We work to continuously increase the safety of Americans," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "We believe these new measures will further protect the health of Americans, understanding that nothing we can do will get us to absolute zero risk until we end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa."