US adopts rules for DRC and Guinea travellers over Ebola concerns

There has been a resurgence of the virus in the two African countries

FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines Boeing 737-800 sits at a gate after arriving at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo
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The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new public health requirements for US visitors who have recently been in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Guinea, which will take effect on Thursday to address Ebola concerns.

Travellers who have been in the two African countries in the past 21 days must fly to one of six US airports – New York-JFK, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington Dulles, Newark or Los Angeles.

The order was announced on Monday but signed on Tuesday.

The agency will require airlines to collect and send passenger information for public health follow-up for all who have been in the two countries and are travelling to the US.

"Timely public health follow-up requires health officials to have immediate access to accurate and complete contact information for travellers as they arrive in the United States,” agency director Rochelle Walensky said.

Recently, fewer than 100 people a day have been arriving in the US from either country.

The agency said outbreaks are mostly in remote areas of the countries and that "the risk of Ebola to the United States is extremely low".

Three new cases of Ebola have been confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, bringing the number of cases reported since last month to 11, a health official said on Monday.

The cases represent a flare-up of the 2018-2020 epidemic, which killed more than 2,200 people before it was declared over last June.

Four people have died and two have recovered among the 11 cases.

In January, the Biden administration, in a move to curb transmission of highly contagious new coronavirus variants, barred most non-US citizens from the US who have been in South Africa within the prior 14 days.

It also extended restrictions in place for Brazil and most of Europe since 2020.