Ebola and D.C. Africa Summit: Official, ‘Protocols in Place for Visitors with Health-Related Issues’
Guest post by Kristinn Taylor
On the eve of President Barack Obama’s African leaders summit in Washington, D.C., an unnamed State Department Official told Yahoo News on Thursday that the Obama administration is monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and that “We have protocols in place to assist official visitors to the US-Africa Leaders Summit with health-related issues.”
The statement, even though not specific, is the closest to a statement of preparedness made by the Obama administration. Various spokesmen have sought to downplay the potential for Ebola to be brought to the summit via West African government officials and members of their entourages.
The statement by the unnamed State Department official contradicts State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf’s flat declaration earlier Thursday at the daily briefing that the administration has no concern about Ebola being brought to the summit:
“QUESTION: — but my question is more to the point, is there any concern that with people coming in, even if they’re not the heads of state, that with the delegations coming in from countries that may have had this, that – is there any – is there a health concern about this?
“MS. HARF: There is not. The CDC has stated there’s no significant risk in the U.S. from the current Ebola outbreak. Obviously, we’re monitoring the situation.
“QUESTION: Well, there’s no significant risk because there are few people who – but I mean you’ve got —
“MS. HARF: Including from those traveling for the summit.”
The Ebola death last week of Liberian government official Patrick Sawyer, a naturalized American citizen working abroad for his native country, raised fears of the spreading of the virus by international travelers as Sawyer came down with Ebola symptoms in a flight from Liberia to Nigeria with a layover in Togo on his way to attend an international conference.
The CDC is sending infectious disease experts to West African nations affected by the outbreak to, among other Ebola duties, screen passengers at airports for signs of infection by the virus, reported the Washington Post.
The Associated Press headlined their story on the summit published Thursday night: Ebola Outbreak to Cast Shadow Over Obama Summit
…”The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus threatened to cast a shadow over a summit that the White House has billed a historic gathering of African leaders in the U.S. capital. Nearly 50 leaders were scheduled to attend the talks on boosting U.S. business investment in Africa, regional security and supporting the next generation of African leaders.”
As The Gateway Pundit reported earlier this week, the Obama administration is urging federal employees to stay home during the summit and to monitor the media for the possibility of a shutdown of the federal government.
The summit was announced by the Obama administration in January. About fifty African nations were invited to attend.