Bridges or walls – Ebola
THE death toll from Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three most affected countries in west Africa, now stands at around 3,900. Among cases diagnosed outside Africa, the total is one: Thomas Duncan, a Liberian national, who died in Texas on October 8th. Yet fear of Ebola in relatively unaffected countries risks making the tragedy in Africa worse.
On October 3rd Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana, called for flights from “Ebola-stricken” countries to America to be suspended. Other Republican politicians have done the same. Plenty of African countries have already introduced flight bans. Some Western airlines have also altered their schedules.
Public-health experts oppose shutting countries off. Humanitarian aid and medical staff struggle to get to afflicted areas, worsening the original outbreaks. Some would-be travellers find other routes that are harder to police. The economic consequences are grave. And it is a bit more complicated than the likes of Mr Jindal imply.