Passengers arriving in the U.S. from three West African nations with an outbreak of Ebola will be directed to enter through the five airports where federal agents are conducting enhanced health screenings.
The few travelers who don’t already connect through Atlanta, Chicago, Newark, New York and Washington will be forced to take flights that stop in those cities, according to a Department of Homeland Security statement today. The new procedures become effective Wednesday.
“We currently have in place measures to identify and screen anyone at all land, sea and air ports of entry into the United States who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the preceding 21 days,” Secretary Jeh Johnson said in the statement.
The administration is trying to quell criticism of its handling of Ebola after a patient in Texas died Oct. 8 and two nurses who cared for him were infected with the disease. The virus has killed more than 4,500 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Some U.S. lawmakers have called for a ban on travelers from three nations, a move that President Barack Obama has said would be counterproductive.