Canada will stop issuing visas to people from three West African nations where the disease is widespread, the government said on Friday.Reuters

Canada will stop issuing visas to people from three West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which have been widely affected by the Ebola virus, the government said on Friday.

The federal citizenship ministry stated in an official document that the move was introduced because "the introduction or spread of the disease would pose an imminent and severe risk to public health".

The new regulation will come into force immediately and Canada will not process visa applications from foreign nationals who have been in an Ebola-affected country in the last three months.

This comes after around 5,000 people died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone this year in the worst Ebola outbreak in history. After a few cases were diagnosed in Spain and the US, fears rose that the virus would spread to the rest of the world.

Canada is following the footsteps of Australia, which on Tuesday banned visas for people from the West African nations. There are however, no reported cases of Ebola currently in Canada.

This comes as the new health workers mandatory quarantine policy in the United States has become controversial. President Barack Obama is also resisting pressure to impose travel restrictions.

Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose said in a statement that the act was in the "best interests of Canadians," that the "number one priority is to protect Canadians."

Nancy Caron, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, told AP that "a number of African countries have imposed stricter travel bans as have several other countries around the world. Other countries such as the United States have started to place restrictions on travellers from countries with Ebola outbreaks."