The United States has begun requiring travelers from three West African countries at the center of the Ebola epidemic to fly to one of five major airports conducting enhanced screening for the virus.
The move is part of increased efforts to contain the outbreak that has killed more than 4,500 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to Reuters.
Travelers from these countries must enter the US through New York’s John F. Kennedy, New Jersey’s Newark, Washington Dulles, Atlanta, and Chicago’s O’Hare international airports, the report said citing health and homeland security officials.
The precautions are short of a travel ban sought by some US lawmakers to prevent further Ebola cases in the United States.
“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.
“If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed.”
Johnson said those airports account for about 94 percent of travelers flying to the US from the three countries.
He said there are no direct, nonstop commercial flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to the US.
Washington-based trade group Airlines for America said fewer than 150 people per day travel to the US from those three countries and about nine daily have been arriving at airports other than the five airports with enhanced Ebola screening.
Only three Ebola cases have been diagnosed in the United States — Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and two nurses who treated him.
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