GOP rep: Airport temperature checks not enough to stop Ebola

The chairman of the House subcommittee on oversight and investigations said Tuesday that the Obama administration’s proposal to increase temperature checks of airline passengers who are flying to the U.S. from African nations is not enough to stop the spread of Ebola domestically. 

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said during an interview with CNN that a ban on commercial flights from the Ebola-stricken region would be more effective. 

{mosads}“No one is saying that you shouldn’t be able to fly supplies and medical equipment in, et cetera,” Murphy said. “But this idea they have of saying, ‘if we just take people’s temperature at the airport will be enough,’ well…according to CDC’s own information that, it could be incubated for 21 days before you even see signs and symptoms. So simply asking people to tell the truth, ‘have you been near Ebola and what’s your temperature now?’ I don’t think it’s going to be enough.” 

President Obama announced Monday that he was ordering increased screenings for Ebola at U.S. airports in an effort to calm fears about air  travel that have grown since Thomas Duncan became the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. 

Obama said Monday that he was confident the virus could be prevented from spreading, and the administration was “working on protocols to do additional passenger screenings both at the source and here in the United States.”

“All of these things make me confident … the chances of an outbreak, of an epidemic here are extraordinarily low,” Obama said after he met with members of his Cabinet. 

Duncan was diagnosed shortly after he flew from Liberia to Texas, with a connection in Washington. 

Lawmakers like Murphy have been pushing for additional screening, with some calling for a complete travel ban from countries battling the Ebola virus.

Obama administration officials have argued that it would be impractical to close off flights between the U.S. and countries affected by Ebola because doing so would make it harder to move relief supplies and health workers. They say that would hamper the international response and put more Americans at risk.

Murphy said Tuesday that officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have previously supported the idea of limiting commercial airline travel between places where Ebola has been prevalent and the U.S. 

“Few years ago, the CDC actually asked for the authority to have some quarantines of travel from countries, specifically looking at the Ebola virus, and now they’re backing away from that,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to make sense.”

Tags Barack Obama CDC Ebola National Institute of Health Tim Murphy

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