Anyone returning from an Ebola-stricken country will be monitored by health authorities for three weeks

All travelers who arrive in the U.S. from the Ebola-stricken countries — Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia — will be closely monitored for 21 days by public health officials, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced Wednesday, Oct. 22.

These measures took effect immediately in the six states that receive approximately 70 percent of travelers from Est Africa: New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Georgia. All other states that receive travelers from the region, including Kentucky, will implement these policies “over the following days,” a CDC release said..

Kit for travelers entering U.S. from West Africa

Travelers who have been in these countries will get a kit at the airport with an explanation of what Ebola symptoms are, a thermometer and instructions on how to use it, and specific contact information to report symptoms. These people will also be required to maintain daily contact with state and local officials for the entire 21 days following the last possible date of exposure to the Ebola virus.

“These new measures I’m announcing today will give additional levels of safety so that people who develop symptoms of Ebola are isolated quickly,” Frieden told reporters.

These measures are in place only for travelers without symptoms. Those showing symptoms will be isolated and, if need be, transported by trained medical personnel. If a traveler is considered “high risk,” but not yet showing symptoms, Frieden said he or she would be quarantined and not permitted to travel via public transportation.

New York and New Jersey have taken this new policy a step further and now require all medical workers returning from West Africa who had contact with Ebola patients to be quarantined for 21 days. Illinois will require people who have traveled to West Africa and have come into direct contact with someone infected with the Ebola virus to “undergo a mandatory 21-day home quarantine,” Ray Sanchez and Elizabeth Cohen report for CNN.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the policy could backfire. “These individuals who are going there to serve are the people who will end this crisis,” de Blasio said. “We can’t have the illusion that we can turn away from it and some day it may end. If we took that attitude, this would be a truly devastating global crisis.”

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