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Nelson wants travel restrictions for Ebola

Published Oct. 7, 2014

Sen. Bill Nelson today urged Secretary of State John Kerry to consider suspending travel visas to people in areas hit by Ebola.

Dear Secretary Kerry:

I have reviewed the administration's comprehensive plan to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus and I support the national-security and public-health efforts in this regard.

It would seem that another means of reducing the chances of exposure to the virus here at home would be to temporarily suspend unnecessary travel to the United States under existing visas and the issuance of new visas for citizens of countries that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies as areas with high rates of infections.

These travel bans could be temporary until the CDC determines the affected areas no longer pose a threat. This would not only help protect Americans here at home, it would also provide additional time for the added steps the administration is implementing to take effect.

Of course, that wouldn't block travel involving humanitarian assistance, medical personnel or the flow of supplies to areas hard hit by the virus.

While there have been unheeded calls in recent weeks from lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle wanting similar action, I believe it is imperative the administration reconsider temporary, targeted travel restrictions at this time. I look forward to your response.