AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Governor Rick Perry said at the State Capitol on Friday that flights from nations afflicted by Ebola should be banned. “Air travel is how this disease crosses borders,” he said. “I believe it is the right policy to ban air travel from countries that have been hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak.”
The statement contradicts Perry’s statements earlier this month, in which he dismissed the notion that banning such flights would help prevent Ebola from spreading in the United States.
Perry returned from an economic development trip to Europe on Thursday, earlier than his original planned return date of Sunday, in order to address the Ebola crisis. Public anxiety has been rising, after two nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was the first to be diagnosed with Ebola on American soil, were reported to have contracted the disease from Duncan.
“The state has been fully engaged on every level of response to this crisis,” said Perry, mentioning a rapid assessment team his office organized at the beginning of the month. Texas DHS officials have been in “constant contact” with CDC, assisting with monitoring people who came in contact with Duncan.
Perry spoke with President Obama yesterday, and asked him, “as a stopgap measure,to fast track CDC acknowledgement of the facilities that are better prepared to deal with Ebola.” Texas wants its citizens to be fully informed and know where to go if they get Ebola. The two positive tests of caregivers “reminded us just how dangerous this virus really is,” said Perry, adding that “they each have our thoughts and prayers.”
Specifically regarding travel restrictions, Perry said, “we must admit along the way, we’ve seen ample opportunity for improvement, from the CDC to Mr. Duncan’s hospital.” Perry called it “inexcusable” that Vinson was allowed to fly from Cleveland to Dallas after reporting a fever.
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