On August 7, the U.S. ordered diplomats’ families, not the diplomats themselves, to leave Liberia in light of the current Ebola outbreak.
The families are expected to return to the United States via commercial airline travel, the State Department tells Breitbart News. In an exclusive statement, the State Department explained, “Our first choice is a commercial airline. If that is not possible, we will consider other options.” The spokesperson did not describe any particular security precautions that would be taken in repatriating individuals from an Ebola-stricken country.
The State Department’s response to Breitbart News’s questioning follows a statement issued previously. Reuters reports the State Department also released a statement saying “U.S. staff would remain on active duty at the embassy and additional staff were being sent” to help the Liberian government deal with the spreading virus. The extra U.S. personnel being sent “include 12 disease prevention specialists from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and a 13-member disaster assistance response team from USAID.”
The Liberian diplomats’ families are not the only Americans in Monrovia waiting to return home. A group of six American students from Tuskegee University in Alabama remained stranded in Monrovia due to the virus, unable to fly back to the United States, for more than a week. The University has since arranged for British Airways to fly them home on August 17.
Also on August 7, Breitbart News reported that CDC director Thomas Frieden “brushed off” concerns that Ebola could enter the United States from the southern border. During an impromptu press conference Frieden responded to questions regarding that possibility by saying, “That is not happening.”
Liberia has experienced some of the most devastating impacts of the Ebola virus. It is also the country from which the disease spread to Nigeria after diplomat Patrick Sawyer, of American-Liberian background, took a commercial flight into the metropolis of Lagos. Sawyer arrived in Lagos for a transfer to a flight into the United States.
A State Department statement indicates, “the latest wave of the outbreak has overwhelmed Liberia’s health system and most health facilities lack sufficient staff or resources to address the continuing transmission of the disease.”