Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Trump administration’s ban on African travel is justified — but its implementation does not make sense

The Trump administration has announced that the United States will stop issuing visas to citizens of 12 countries due to Ebola concerns. However, the affected countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Uganda, and Nigeria — do not meet both CDC and World Health Organization criteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization do not recommend vaccination for the Ebola virus, leaving this ban to be somewhat arbitrary.

Although CDC and WHO recommend that people receive vaccination against the Ebola virus to prevent an outbreak, this is not in order to protect international travel. So, how is this really protecting the traveling public?

The impact of the ban is unclear. Eighty-seven percent of the 53 million travelers who passed through U.S. airports from October 2014 through March 2016 did not come from the countries affected by the ban. Additionally, 58 of the countries have made significant strides against Ebola and continue to work hard to prevent future outbreaks. As of November 2016, both countries with the highest rates of new Ebola cases — Guinea and Sierra Leone — had eliminated all cases, and Liberia had reported fewer than a dozen new cases since Ebola was declared eliminated in November 2014. This means that the ban wasn’t really effective — despite the administration’s initial plans to do so.

More realistically, the ban helps the Trump administration fulfill the president’s campaign promises and distracts the public from other health issues. Although the travel ban isn’t really necessary, it serves as a propaganda weapon that reinforces the perception that the U.S. is cracking down on Muslim travel. If Trump cared about public health and Ebola, he would make the necessary steps to protect Americans from an outbreak, not impinge on travel.

Read more at The Washington Post.

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