Borders should be closed to Ebola-stricken countries

November 20, 2014 — by Fiona Sequeira and Arman Vaziri

The U.S. needs to follow Canada’s lead to close its borders to travelers from Ebola-stricken countries. 

Once again, the U.S. needs to follow Canada’s lead on an issue that has sparked worldwide controversy.

At the beginning of November, Canada closed its borders to travelers from Ebola-stricken countries. Australia has done the same.

A single case of Ebola in September in Dallas, introduced by a Liberian immigrant named Thomas Eric Duncan who was visiting family, sparked a cascade of contacts that expanded throughout the U.S., threatening thousands of lives as a consequence. Upon entering the United States under questionable circumstances with a visa he should have never received, Duncan infected at least two nurses who cared for him.

Ever since the the outbreak of Ebola in March of 2014, nearly 5,000 deaths have been confirmed, most of them in West Africa. According to the World Health Organization, this is the biggest outbreak on record. Despite aid and treatment sent from Europe and the United States, Ebola is still spreading, and 19 cases of Ebola in Europe and the U.S. have arisen.

Nearly all of these cases involved health and aid workers who contracted Ebola while in West Africa and were transported back to their home country for treatment. In light of these events, the U.S. has handled the issue of Ebola extremely poorly.

The treatment of Duncan in a Dallas hospital raised the fundamental ethical question: Is it our responsibility to administer the treatment of infected patients if we have the means to or should we place concerns of the safety of our entire country first?

The answer is that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. The U.S. government needs to put the safety of the rest of the country ahead of the well-being of the doctors sent to help treat and stop the Ebola epidemic in Africa.

If there was a lifeboat with a full capacity and the passengers saw many people swimming in the ocean, what could they do unless they had another lifeboat? If they try to help all of the drowning people they could just end up sinking the boat, which would kill everybody. There is no point in sending doctors until the government is sure that all of the necessary precautions have taken place.

The American public needs reassurance that its leaders have their best interests in mind. Unless the government is completely sure that we can contain the deathly strand, we have no business opening a Pandora’s Box on American soil. Frankly, the fundamentally irresponsible leadership of the U.S. government is jeopardizing the lives of millions of unsuspecting Americans.

Currently, visitors from Ebola-affected countries can enter any airport in the U.S. Until doctors and scientists are positive that they can effectively treat and contain the Ebola virus, the U.S. needs to close its borders to plagued African countries. Quarantining the virus only makes sense to save the rest of us.

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