Rep. Long Calls For Travel Ban Amid Ebola Crisis

Posted on October 17, 2014 10:45 am CDT
by Matt Lupoli

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- After a congressional hearing regarding the government's response to the Ebola situation, Southwest Missouri's Rep. Billy Long told KOLR 10 by phone Thursday that his constituents are "overwhelmingly" urging his call for travel restrictions. 

"The calls and emails to my office is, 'Close down travel from West Africa," Long said. "The excuses they're giving, one was a financial excuse, they said yesterday it would hurt the economies of these countries and we said, 'What? You're more worried about the economies of these countries than you are protecting our citizens? Come on.'"

"Our top priority, our focus is to work 24-seven to protect Americans. That's our mission," Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Tom Frieden testified.   

Long says though he doesn't think the CDC has been proactive in the face of the ever-changing situation. 

"Today when Dr. Frieden said, 'Well you have to have close bodily contact, touch fluids and things of that nature.' If that's the case why did they scrub the plane four times?" Long asked about a Frontier Airlines flight that nurse Amber Vinson flew on just before being diagnosed with the virus. 

Vinson is a nurse at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and cared for the first U.S. patient to die of the virus, Thomas Duncan. Nina Pham, another Texas nurse who cared for Duncan, is also being treated for Ebola. 

Beyond the medical facts, the congressman also took issue with the hearing's sterile nature. He said referring to the nurses by numbers, rather than names, was irksome. 

"They referred to those nurses as 'nurse one' and 'nurse two' and I said that's kind of like Dr. Seuss, Thing One and Thing Two. They're human beings who dedicated their life to helping other people and they have names," Long said. 

On Thursday evening, the White House again issued a statement reiterating that contact with bodily fluid is the only way to contract Ebola and that only people showing symptoms are contagious. 

President Barack Obama also authorized the Pentagon to call on National Guard troops if they're needed to help fight the outbreak overseas.




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