(Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Monday that the government would develop expanded screening of airline passengers for Ebola, both in the West African countries hit by the disease and the United States.
The first patient diagnosed with the disease on U.S. soil, Thomas Eric Duncan, remained in critical condition in a Dallas hospital, as Obama was briefed by agencies involved in fighting the spread of the deadly virus.
The president said it was important to follow existing protocols strictly.
“But we’re also going to be working on protocols to do additional passenger screening, both at the source and here in the United States,” Obama said.
However, the White House said that a ban on travel from West African countries, which some U.S. officials have called for, would slow the fight against Ebola.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said officials did not want to impede transport systems used to send supplies and personnel to the hardest-hit countries in West Africa, so a travel ban was not being considered.
Airlines for America, a Washington-based trade group, separately said it would meet health and safety officials on Monday to discuss whether additional screening procedures anywhere in the world might help improve on those already in place.
Authorities in the United States and the public are on alert following Duncan’s diagnosis just over a week ago, raising concerns that the worst epidemic of Ebola on record could spread from West Africa.
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