On Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said it is imperative that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) take every precaution to prevent the spread of Ebola before the holiday season.
In a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Cruz noted that several African countries–in addition to British Airways, Emirates Airlines, and Kenya Airways–have restricted, suspended, or banned flights to Ebola-stricken nations. The White House currently has not placed any Ebola travel restrictions.
Cruz also mentioned that he has spoken with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, who has assured him her agency is acting “vigorously” to contain Ebola.
“It is imperative that the FAA take every available precaution in preventing additional cases from arriving in the United States,” Cruz wrote in his letter, mentioning that “in light of the upcoming holiday travel season, the American traveling public would like to be rest assured that their safety is not at risk and that your agency is doing everything within its authority to prevent the spread of this infectious disease.”
“Due to the Obama Administration’s unclear approach to addressing the threat of the Ebola virus, Americans–particularly the Texans who have possibly been exposed–deserve specific answers to how the administration is addressing travel to and from the countries impacted by the disease,” Cruz said in a statement.
In his letter, he asked FAA’s Huerta five questions about the precautions the agency is taking to prevent Ebola from spreading:
- What training is currently provided to airline carriers and their crew members to identify the symptoms of infectious diseases, such as Ebola, before a passenger boards a flight?
- What specific action has the FAA taken since the first cases of the Ebola virus were reported in West Africa in March 2014?
- Does the FAA intend to take any steps to limit or suspend air travel to countries that have experienced a significant Ebola outbreak?
- Once a case has been confirmed will passengers receive notification that they traveled on the same flight as an Ebola patient?
- Does your agency have any projections, studies or reports for how many additional Ebola cases may arrive in the United States due to air travel? If so, what additional steps is your agency taking to limit the spread of this infectious disease?