Washington, Feb 19: The United States has announced it will end enhanced screening of passengers for potential Ebola virus infection from West Africa after an epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people.
On Friday, Guinea will be removed "from the list of nations affected by Ebola for which travellers are subject to enhanced US visa and port-of-entry screening," said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday.
"Guinea will be the last of the affected countries in West Africa to be removed from enhanced entry screening measures." The change means that travelers from Guinea -- as well as Liberia and Sierra Leone -- will be able to enter the United States through any available port of entry, instead of being routed to one of five specially selected airports.
"Travellers departing Guinea will remain subject to outbound screening measures, and the United States will continue to support Guinea's Ebola prevention and detection measures, including at its primary international airport in Conakry," said the CDC.
"Travellers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are still encouraged to watch their health for 21 days after leaving one of these countries and to contact their local health departments or seek healthcare if they develop symptoms consistent with Ebola."
Guinea was declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organization on December 29, 2015. The US Department of Homeland Security said the enhanced travel measures were taken in response to the public health emergency faced in 2014, the peak year of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
"During this time not a single traveller exhibiting Ebola symptoms is known to have entered the country undetected," the DHS said in a statement. "Over the past 16 months, DHS has screened more than 42,000 travellers from Ebola-affected countries."