President Obama says the U.S. government will increase airport screening of passengers coming from the West African countries ravaged by an Ebola epidemic that’s causing widespread concern in the United States.
National security, homeland security and senior health officials briefed the president on the continuing U.S. response to that outbreak, from measures in Dallas to contain the disease after the first U.S. case was diagnosed there in Liberian native Thomas Duncan, to the escalating federal mobilization as part of a global response in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Obama proclaimed the situation a “top national security priority,” but did not outline any specific measures following the hour-long briefing. But he said officials will begin working on protocols for greater scrutiny of passengers, “both at the source and here in the United States.”
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated a wide range of steps might be taken at airports and other points of entry.
“We’re looking at all options,” said Director Tom Frieden, who attended the White House meeting along with Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and nearly two dozen others.