Obama plea over Ebola ‘hysteria’

Published: Saturday 18th October 2014 by The News Editor

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President Barack Obama has urged Americans not to succumb to hysteria about Ebola, as he warned that addressing the deadly virus would require citizens, government leaders and the media to all pitch in.

In his weekly radio and internet address, he also rejected calls for the US to institute a ban on travel from West Africa.

Politicians have called it a common-sense step to prevent more people with Ebola from entering the US, but Mr Obama said such a ban would only hamper aid efforts and screening measures.

“Trying to seal off an entire region of the world – if that were even possible – could actually make the situation worse,” he said.

Growing US concern about Ebola and the three cases diagnosed so far in Dallas prompted Mr Obama yesterday to appoint a former top White House adviser to be his spokesman on Ebola.

Striking a careful balance, the president said there is no “outbreak” or “epidemic” of Ebola in the US, but added that even one case is too many.

“This is a serious disease, but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear – because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need,” he said. “We have to be guided by the science.”

As Mr Obama sought to reassure anxious Americans, officials were still working to contain the fallout from the Ebola cases identified in the US so far, rushing to cut off potential routes of infection for those who may have come into contact with individuals who contracted Ebola.

Mr Obama said he was “absolutely confident” that the US could prevent a serious outbreak at home – if it continues to elevate facts over fear.

“Fighting this disease will take time,” he said. “Before this is over, we may see more isolated cases here in America. But we know how to wage this fight.”

Published: Saturday 18th October 2014 by The News Editor

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