President Barack Obama on Monday announced stringent measures to screen passengers in airports, even as he resisted calls to impose a total travel ban on those commuting from the three countries, which are most affected by the outbreak: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
New set of protocols will now be implemented where suspected Ebola patients will be screened so that they can't get off airplanes and enter American airports.
While defending the government's handling of the disease, he told reporters: "We're also going to be working on protocols to do additional passenger screening, both at the source and here in the United States."
According to the Washington Post, the President and the White House officials did not elaborate any further on exactly what those new screenings would entail. At the moment, passengers leaving from the most affected countries are screened at the airport.
The Daily Mail reports that the same Customs and Border Patrol Agents who deal with cargo and luggage for curtailing illegal imports will inspect passengers who arrive from Ebola-ravaged countries.
Although much concerns have been raised over the past week about Ebola outbreak in the US, Obama insisted that the chances an epidemic in the country are extraordinarily low.
The government is "going to be working on protocols to do additional passenger screening both at the source and here in the United States," Obama said in what was his first Ebola-related public comments. The announcement was made after a meeting with the national and homeland security aides and government public health experts.
Several prominent Republicans have made calls for severe flight restrictions since Thomas Eric Duncan flew from Liberia last month only to be diagnosed with Ebola. He is currently in a critical condition in a Dallas hospital.
Obama's meeting was aimed at receiving an update on both Duncan's case, as well as the nation's overall preparedness in a possible epidemic-like situation.
"(We are) familiar with dealing with infectious diseases and viruses like this. We know what has to be done, and we've got the medical infrastructure to do it...All of these things make me confident that here in the United States, at least, the chanced of an outbreak – of an epidemic here are extraordinarily low," Obama said.