CDC Chief: Sealing Borders ‘Increases People’s Distrust of Government’

On his blog on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), director Dr. Tom Frieden wrote that sealing borders, restricting travel to and from countries with widespread cases of Ebola, and otherwise isolating communities infected with the deadly disease “increases people’s distrust of government, making them less likely to co-operate to help stop the spread of Ebola.”

Frieden added:

I have been asked whether we should stop travel to Liberia. The answer is no: to keep Americans and people in non-affected countries safe, we must continue to work to support efforts to stop the spread of Ebola in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. One strategy that won’t stop this epidemic is isolating affecting countries or sealing borders. When countries are isolated, it is harder to get medical supplies and personnel deployed to stop the spread of Ebola. And even when governments restrict travel and trade, people in affected countries still find a way to move and it is even harder to track them systematically.

Frieden continued that restricting travel to and from a community with widespread Ebola would make it more difficult to control the isolated area and would place that country at even greater risk.