DA welcomes travel ban

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance welcomed on Thursday the travel ban for non-South Africans from countries affected by the Ebola virus outbreak.

"We also welcome the minister’s intention to medically examine and screen all South Africans returning from these countries until further notice," DA MP Wilmot James said in a statement.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Thursday that Cabinet issued an immediate travel ban for non-South Africans from countries affected by the Ebola virus disease.

"[There is] a total travel ban for all non-citizens travelling from these high-risk countries [Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone], unless the travel is considered absolutely essential," he told reporters in Pretoria.

"For citizens of South Africa who wish to travel to these countries, they will be requested to delay their travel unless it is absolutely essential for them to travel."

Motsoaledi said South Africans coming from these West African countries would be subjected to a strict screening process, and medically examined if need be.

They would have to complete a comprehensive health questionnaire before being granted entry into the country.

"If the comprehensive medical and the temperature screening reveal something, they will have to subject themselves to a complete medical examination."

For people from medium and low-risk countries, including Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, the normal surveillance processes would continue.

James said the spread of Ebola to South Africa was a serious public health threat.

"We support Minister Motsoaledi’s proactive approach. We call on government to be as vigilant as possible to ensure that South Africa remains Ebola-free," he said.