Jindal orders state to track Ebola travel

Jindal orders state to track Ebola travel
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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) is ordering state officials to implement new procedures to track travel to Ebola stricken countries.

State officials are “authorized and directed to develop policies and reporting mechanisms for public employees and students, faculty, and staff of institutions of higher learning to report travel to the countries identified by the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] as having a threat of contracting the Ebola Virus Disease,” Jindal’s executive order said. 

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The order could require some to disclose travel to affected countries.

The executive order claimed the state was forced to act because “the federal government, to date, has failed to implement protections at the national level to prevent the entry of the Ebola Virus Disease into the United States of America.”

Jindal, a potential 2016 presidential contender, has been a vocal proponent of a travel ban to Ebola-affected nations. But the Obama administration and public health officials have rejected those calls, arguing that a travel ban would make it harder to treat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Support for a travel ban has been building in Congress after two nurses were infected with the disease treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the country’s first Ebola fatality. Concerns grew after one of the nurses was allowed to board a commercial flight before showing symptoms.

More than 80 lawmakers have publicly said they support an Ebola travel ban according to a list compiled by The Hill, including about a dozen members of President Obama’s own party. 

Obama has said that he will only reconsider his stance on opposing a travel ban if health officials tell him it would be an effective way to contain Ebola. 

“We can't just cut ourselves off from West Africa, where this disease is raging,” Obama said in a weekend radio address.  

“Our medical experts tell us that the best way to stop this disease is to stop it at its source before it spreads even wider and becomes even more difficult to contain,” he continued. “Trying to seal off an entire region of the world — if that were even possible — could actually make the situation worse.

“It would make it harder to move health workers and supplies back and forth,” he continued. “Experience shows that it could also cause people in the affected region to change their travel, to evade screening, and make the disease even harder to track."

A number of lawmakers have also said they plan to introduce legislation to ban travel from affected countries.