As governments in West Africa struggle to contain the Ebola epidemic, World Health Organization officials are warning that the suspension of flights and imposition of travel restrictions raise fears of shortages and could undermine the capacity to respond. While advising countries to perform exit screening at airports, seaports and major border crossings, the WHO is recommending against any ban on international travel or trade. But several international airlines have announced bans. Kenya Airways suspended flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia, effective Tuesday. British Airways, which stopped flights to the two nations earlier this month, will continue the suspension until Aug. 31 “due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries,” spokeswoman Caroline Titmuss said. Meanwhile, the health ministry in Kenya, the travel hub of East Africa, announced over the weekend that it was closing its borders to travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Read more >>
The cartoon by Chappatte from the International New York Times shows the continent of Africa surrounded by a curtain. Inside the curtain, a dead Ebola victim is being carried off by workers in protective suits. Outside, an official uses a megaphone to tell those inside, "You're under quarantine ... for your own good."
Although the official says that the quarantine is for the Ebola victims' "own good", it is really designed to protect non-African countries from the deadly disease, even if this, in the words of the WHO, "could undermine the capacity to respond".
Quarantine is a situation in which a person or animal that might have a disease is kept separate from other people or animals so that they do not catch the disease. • Animals can be kept in quarantine for up to three months.