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Health Team

Travel ban from Ebola nations debated

Posted October 2, 2014 4:33 p.m. EDT
Updated October 2, 2014 4:41 p.m. EDT

— The spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general says the United Nations believes air travel to and from the West African countries affected by the Ebola virus should continue despite the first reported case in the United States.

Stephane Dujarric told reporters Thursday that "it's very important not to isolate these countries" as it would worsen their political and economic situations. He says aid groups need access to the region.

The first reported U.S. case involves a man who flew from Liberia to visit relatives. His travel took him through Brussels and Washington before reaching Texas.

Republicans in Congress have called for the U.S. to ban travel to and from countries where Ebola has spread, and Thom Tillis, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from North Carolina, reiterated that stance on Thursday.

"It makes absolutely no sense to risk more cases of Ebola in the United States by continuing to allow travel from Ebola-inflicted countries," Tillis said in a statement. "It’s time for Washington to take action to protect the American people."

Dujarric emphasized the importance of screening at travelers' departure and arrival.

The United Nations has spoken out repeatedly against travel restrictions on the Ebola-affected countries.

The U.N. has lost one staffer in Liberia to "probable" Ebola.