On Monday, Australia temporarily suspended immigration for people from West African nations ravaged by Ebola.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that “Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told parliament on Monday Australia had suspended its immigration program, including its humanitarian intake, from Ebola-affected countries including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.”
“This means we are not processing any application from these affected countries,” Morrison reportedly said. “The government’s systems and processes are working to protect Australians.”
According to the Herald, Morrison added that “Australia was cancelling or refusing non-permanent or temporary visas for people from Ebola-affected nations who had not departed for Australia.” He also said that “the government was ensuring that all people from Ebola-affected nations who had entered Australia through the humanitarian program before the suspension had undergone three separate health checks before their departure, and were being subject to on-arrival screening and post-arrival monitoring.”
In addition, Australia is requiring permanent visa holders from Ebola-affected countries “to submit to a 21-day quarantine period before their departure for Australia.” The Herald reports that 19 people from “four West African families are in home isolation in Queensland after travelling to the state under a humanitarian program this month.”
Australia is following the lead of African countries that have been successfully containing Ebola by closing borders and instituting travel restrictions.
Conversely, President Barack Obama has insisted that instituting a travel ban would do more harm than good, even after Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian immigrant who died after becoming the first person on American soil diagnosed with Ebola, infecting at least two nurses, reportedly entered the country with a visa he received under questionable circumstances.