Health Officials Work to Quell Fears of Ebola Spreading by Air Travel
GENEVA — The World Health Organization on Thursday swiftly sought to quell fears that international air travel could become a conduit for spreading the deadly Ebola virus from Africa around the globe, emphasizing that such a risk was low.
The organization acted after Korean Airlines suspended flights to Kenya, which is not among the four West African countries affected by Ebola — Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria — but is a major air transit hub that serves those nations. A message on the organization’s Twitter account said: “W.H.O. disappointed when airlines stop flying to West Africa. Hard to save lives if we & other health workers cannot get in.”
But in another sign of spreading international concern, the State Department announced that it had ordered family members of staff members at the United States Embassy in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, to leave the country. Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said it had taken the step at the recommendation of the department’s medical office “out of an abundance of caution.”