New restrictions on people travelling to the US from the three worst hit West African countries by the deadly Ebola virus have come into effect.
As of Wednesday, air passengers from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea must enter the US through one of five airports doing special screenings and fever checks for Ebola.
The airports that travellers must arrive through are JFK airport in New York, Newark Liberty airport in New Jersey, Chicago O’Hare airport, Washington D.C.’s Dulles airport and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport.
People travelling from these countries will then be given enhanced screenings where they will have their temperatures checked.
See the Ebola outbreak mapped
See the Ebola outbreak mapped
1/7 25 March 2014
This outbreak of the Ebola virus first emerged in the Guéckédou region of Guinea, at a crossroads with both Liberia and Sierra Leone
2/7 31 March
On 31 March the WHO confirmed the outbreak was now international, spreading first into Liberia's northern-most Lofa region
3/7 27 May
The virus spread to Sierra Leone at the end of May - just as agencies were hoping the worst was over
4/7 27 July
In Sierra Leone the virus boomed, and then it spread to Nigeria when the Liberian diplomat Patrick Sawyer flew from Monrovia to Lagos
5/7 9 August
The Nigeria cases sparked fears around the world, and there have now been deaths in Spain and Saudi Arabia involving people who had travelled to West Africa. The numbers of cases continue to rise
6/7 17-20 September
In mid-September, Senegal confirmed its first case linked to the Ebola outbreak, a development the WHO described as a top priority emergency. Numbers of cases continued to grow exponentially in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, as experts warned they could number one million by January if not contained
7/7 8 October
Two cases of Ebola have now been reported in the US and Europe - the first times the virus has been contracted among health workers outside Africa
There are no direct flights from these countries to the US and around 150 people a day arrive on American soil from multi-leg routes, with about six per cent of travellers coming through airports with no Ebola screening measures in place, according to federal officials.
The travel restrictions come as US states from New York to Texas to California work to get hospitals and nurses ready in case another patient turns up in the country with the deadly virus.
Thomas Eric Duncan, who became the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola on American soil, died this month in Texas. He had travelled to the US from Liberia, and two people contracted the virus as a result of being in contact with him.
Rwanda’s health officials announced this week that it would start screening American and Spanish citizens entering the country for Ebola, as both these countries have had cases of the virus.
President Obama has faced calls to simply ban travel from the three West African countries, which the president has said he would be open to if public health experts advised it, but he fears if a ban was implemented then some travellers might attempt to enter the US by avoiding screening measures, which could lead to more Ebola cases, not fewer.
Additional reporting by agenciesReuse content