By Eric K. Williams
While three West African nations enforce the suspension of flights from Liberia, and Sierre Leone, as the Ebola virus spreads, the U.S. is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach as the crisis ‘shakes out.’
That is word out of Washington, as Jen Psaki, the U.S. State Department Spokeswoman told reporters Monday at the daily press briefing. The U.S. disclosure came during a lengthy question and answer session, observed by a SaharaReporters correspondent, which was one that covered a variety of international issues.
Under U.S. Law, the State Department is the agency that would suspend, or place, international flight restrictions in the event a major Trans-Atlantic outbreak of the Ebola virus. Psaki said that the State Department would first follow the lead, and recommendations of the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control to place flight restrictions.
Psaki did not offer a comment of the recent decision by officials in Liberia to close-off most of their land border points.
In recent days a second American aid worker has tested positive for the Ebola virus. Health officials identified Nancy Writebol as the second known American to contract the disease. She is a worker with an allied aid group called SIM, or Serving in Mission, reports FOX News.
Writebol was diagnosed with Ebola at the same hospital in Liberia where an American doctor became infected while helping to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease.
Ken Isaacs, a vice president of Samaritan’s Purse, told The Associated Press that Dr. Kent Brantly, the first American reported to contract the deadly virus, was stable but in a very serious condition.
Psaki said that U.S. officials are closely monitoring the on-going outbreak of Ebola in the five West African countries where the illness has surfaced. She said that as officials coordinate support to the countries afflicted with Ebola, the U.S. was not ready to issue travel bans to American citizens visiting the west African nations.
The State Department Spokeswoman said that the weekend steps taken by three African nations to confine the Ebola virus would not affect Monday’s Young African Leadership Initiative Summit, taking place at Washington, D.C.’s Omni Shoreham, where President Barack Obama is expected to attend.
The Monday summit precedes next week’s inaugural U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the largest gathering any U.S. president has held with African heads of state and government. Both events will go on as scheduled, Jen Psaki said.