Travelers from West Africa restricted to five U.S. airports over Ebola concerns

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By Jeremy Diamond

WASHINGTON (CNN – Oct. 21, 2014) — All travelers flying into the United States from the West African countries most impacted by the Ebola virus can only enter the U.S. through five airports, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Tuesday.

Starting Wednesday, passengers traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea can only gain entry through the international airports in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago and Newark, New Jersey.

While all U.S. entry points currently screen passengers for potential exposure to the Ebola virus, these five airports have taken additional steps to screen for the disease, such as taking passengers’ temperature and other additional protocols, Johnson said.

The announcement comes amid increasingly vocal calls for President Barack Obama to ban all travel from those three countries into the United States despite top health officials advising against a travel ban.

The ban will apply to any passengers whose flights originated in those three countries since there are no direct flights from there to the U.S.

“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption,” Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson also said that he spoke with Customs and Border Protection officlas and said he was “impressed by their professionalism, and their training and preparation” for the additional screening measures.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 94% of all travelers coming to the U.S. from those countries entered through one of those five airports.