The White House insists the U.S. government is fully prepared to deal with the current outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa — even if that means quarantining sick passengers at airpots.
“We are in a position to ensure that public health is protected. If [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] officers do recognise an individual who appears to be exhibiting some of these symptoms, there are facilities at these ports of entry — at these airports — where these individuals can be quarantined and evaluated by medical personnel,” the White House’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, said during his daily media briefing.
However, Earnest also listed a number of reasons the American public should not be panicking about the Ebola virus potentially reaching U.S. shores. Notably, the virus is not especially contagious before sick individuals display the grisly symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, and bleeding inside and outside the body.
“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 the common cold or the flu,” he said. “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 the food here in the United States. That’s why the [Centres for Disease Control and Prevention] has assessed that there is no significant risk to the United States from this current Ebola outbreak.”
Earnest also said there was a rigorous screening process before and after passengers from the affected African countries enter the U.S.
“It’s important to understand that there’s a screening process that individuals have to go through when they board aircraft departing countries where this outbreak has been reported. There’s additional screening that occurs when individuals starting in that region of the world arrive in this country,” he said.
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