Rep. Paul Cook Calls for Travel Ban from Ebola-Stricken Nations
WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R–Apple Valley) issued the following statement regarding the West African Ebola epidemic:
“The first duty of the United States government is to keep Americans safe. The situation in Dallas, where Thomas Duncan entered the United States after contracting Ebola, has shown the clear and present danger that comes from allowing travel from affected countries into the United States. Duncan has died of Ebola, two American nurses have contracted the disease, and an unknown number of Americans have been exposed to it. The World Health Organization has said that by December 2014, it expects as many as 10,000 new cases of Ebola in West Africa every week. With thousands already dead and the prospect of tens of thousands of new infections in the coming months, it’s only a matter of time before another infected person flies into the United States. We must act now.
“All commercial flights originating in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and travelling on to the United States must end. Additionally, the U.S. must cease issuing visas to non-U.S. citizens travelling from West African countries. We’ve seen how quickly and easily Ebola can spread. America can’t afford to take chances with public health.
“Exceptions can be made for American medical personnel flying to West Africa to fight the disease, provided quarantine procedures are put in place for them on their return to the United States. America has always led the fight to combat diseases and should continue to do so, but non-humanitarian travel to West Africa must end until the Ebola epidemic is contained.”
A member of the House Veterans’ Affairs, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.