Senator Dick Black

VA Lawmakers Renew Ebola Quarantine Request

Two colleagues and I sent a second letter to our Governor regarding his inaction in imposing quarantine measures at Dulles Airport and at the Port of Virginia. There are five US Airports which accept commercial passengers whose travel originates in Ebola affected areas of West Africa.  On Friday, the Governors of two states with two of those airports did impose quarantine policies.  The Governor of Illinois did so on Saturday.  That leaves Georgia and Virginia with "open borders" and no quarantine measures to protect the public from Ebola.

Because Barack Obama is not issuing travel bans on commercial flights with passengers originating from Ebola affected areas, quarantine measures are the only tool states have to impose on arriving passengers.

Only the United States and four West African nations have reported Ebola (Mali has one case.) Just think for a moment.  If Barack Obama had issued a temporary travel ban from Sierra Leone, New Guinea and Liberia as numerous African nations have done to protect themselves from Ebola, unreliable self-reporting of Ebola risk would be replaced by reviewing passports which show which countries have been visited.

Had that happened, the United States would not have to equip every emergency room nurse with hazmat suits, would not have to decontaminate apartments, businesses, ambulances and airplanes, would not have to enforce mandatory quarantine of patients, would not have to fly Ebola-infected patients to the CDC in Atlanta or the NIH in Bethesda, would not have to set up Ebola-designated hospitals which make these facilities less attractive for patients suffering from other ailments, would not have to hire fever screeners for airports, would not be incurring increased health care costs by having to divert personnel and resources to do contact tracing, would not have caused unneeded stress to the general population over a disease that has no cure and an extremely high death rate, and nurses who are on the front lines of medical care would not be at risk of treating potential Ebola-infected patients.

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VA Lawmakers Seek Ebola Travel Bans

In light of a reported thirteen African nations which have banned travel from Ebola prevalent areas to their countries, and reports of airlines which have suspended commercial flights to such areas, Delegate Robert G. "Bob" Marshall (R-13), Senator Richard Black (R-13) and Delegate Mark Berg, MD (R-29) sent a letter (see attached) urging Governor Terry McAuliffe to seek similar bans for Virginia's airports and seaports.

The lawmakers wrote Governor McAuliffe:
"We strongly urge you to use the police powers of Virginia to protect our citizens and residents from exposure to Ebola even if it means a timely court challenge against passenger airlines or the federal government if they continue to permit entry into Virginia of passengers flying from Ebola affected areas.  We also ask you to take similar measures to protect our seaports.   Indeed, Government travel restrictions were used to limit Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)."
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