Stressing that “air travel is, in fact, how this disease crosses borders and it’s certainly how it got to Texas in the first place,” Gov. Rick Perry today backed a travel ban to combat Ebola.
“Based on recent and ongoing developments, I believe it is the right policy to ban air travel from countries that have been hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak,” Perry said at a news conference today. “Certainly there should be an exception for aid workers so that they continue their important work fighting this disease.”
Perry had previously shied away from calls for a travel ban, including from the state’s senators.
In his conversation yesterday with President Obama, the governor said he asked to “fast-track CDC acknowledgement of the next-level facilities that are better prepared to deal with diseases like Ebola.”
“This will let people know that there will be a place to go if they get sick in Texas. Over the past two days, two additional positive tests, both involving caregivers to Mr. Duncan, reminded us just how dangerous this virus truly is. Both women are currently being treated at other facilities around the country and they each have certainly our thoughts and our prayers, as do their family,” Perry said.
“It’s indefensible that one of Mr. Duncan’s nurses was allowed to fly from Ohio to Dallas after she said that she had a low grade fever,” he said, adding that the state’s health department has been asked to monitor 79 Texans who were on the flight with Amber Vinson.
“The eight individuals that were in closest proximity to her, within three feet, are under active monitoring with two temperature checks a day, including once face-to- face with our health care workers,” the governor added. “The others are being monitored by phone.”
“Considering this was the first time that Ebola has been diagnosed on American shores, it’s perhaps understandable that mistakes were made, but it’s also unacceptable.”
Perry stressed that “Ebola is a dangerous, persistent foe but the threat to the general public remains negligible.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said yesterday that Obama’s coordinated national response to Ebola should include “temporary restrictions on travel from impacted West African nations.”
In an op-ed this week in the Texas Tribune, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote, “Banning flights from the afflicted countries is a prudent, common-sense step until the epidemic is brought under control.”