President Barack Obama addressed the idea of implementing a travel ban to West Africa amid the Ebola crisis during a press briefing Thursday evening, contending that current protocols in place are more effective at protecting Americans.
[sharequote align="center"]"I don't have a philosophical objection necessarily to a travel ban..."[/sharequote]
"I don't have a philosophical objection necessarily to a travel ban if that is the thing that is going to keep the American people safe," Obama said. "The problem is that in all the discussions I've had, thus far, with experts in the field ... is that a travel ban is less effective than the measures we are currently instituting."
US President Barack Obama pauses while making a statement for the press after a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House October 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama met with advisors to discus the federal governments response to the Ebola cases in the US. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Obama noted current protocols call for passengers to be screened when they leave West Africa and when they arrive in the U.S. Other measures require passengers to have their temperatures taken and for government officials to keep records of all passengers flying to affected countries.
"If we institute a travel ban instead of the protocols we put into place now, history shows that there is a likelihood of increased avoidance," the president said. "People do not readily disclose their information, they may engage in something called broken travel — essentially breaking up their trip so that they can hide the fact they have been to one of these countries were the disease is in place.
"And as a result, we may end up getting less information about who has the disease, they are less likely to get treated properly, screened properly, quarantined properly, and as a consequence we may end up having more cases rather than less," Obama added.
The president noted that he is in continual talks with his advisors on how to best handle the situation, but stressed that he doesn't think a "flat out travel ban" is the best strategy to protect Americans.
During the briefing, Obama also said it is possible that he will appoint an Ebola czar to deal with the ongoing situation.
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