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Nelson Calls for Travel Bans After Ebola Concerns

Senator Nelson meets with US Customs Officials at Orlando International Airport
Senator Nelson meets with US Customs Officials at Orlando International Airport

Senator Bill Nelson wants to suspend travel from some countries in West Africa affected by Ebola.

The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on US soil died Wednesday. Thomas Eric Duncan flew into the US from Liberia last month, and was hospitalized in Dallas just over a week ago.

Nelson asked Secretary of State John Kerry to stop issuing new visas to citizens of three countries in West Africa. Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia have the highest rates of Ebola, according to the CDC.

The travel ban would coincide with other efforts like passenger screenings to prevent the spread of the disease. The Department of Homeland Security is increasing passenger observation at air and sea ports. The Obama administration is also considering additional screenings at the nation’s biggest airports

“It seems to me that temporarily suspending the issuance of visas from the areas is the thing to do. If there is a necessary case for a visa, that could be handled in a case by case basis," says Nelson.

Under Nelson's plan, humanitarian workers would not be blocked by the proposed plan.

Earlier this week a white house spokesman said the administration would not consider a ban travel.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."