WASHINGTON (AP) – The US government is ramping up its response to the Ebola crisis after a second Dallas nurse became ill and it was disclosed that she had been cleared to fly a day before her diagnosis.
While Ebola patients are not considered contagious until they have symptoms and only two people are known to have contracted the disease in the US, the revelations Wednesday raised new alarms about whether hospitals and the public health system are equipped to handle the deadly disease.
Federal health officials were being called to testify before a congressional committee Thursday to explain where things went wrong.
President Barack Obama directed his administration to respond in a “much more aggressive way” to oversee the Dallas cases and ensure that the lessons learned there are transmitted to hospitals and clinics across the country. And for the second day in a row he cancelled out-of-town trips to stay in Washington and monitor the Ebola response.
Even as the president sought to calm new fears about Ebola in the US, he cautioned against letting them overshadow the far more urgent crisis unfolding in West Africa where Ebola has killed more than 4,000. Underscoring his emphasis on international action,
Obama called European leaders Wednesday to discuss better coordination in the fight against Ebola in the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea and to issue a call for more money and personnel to “to bend the curve of the epidemic.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said that during the call Cameron offered to consult with the Italians to add treatment beds in Sierra Leone.
On Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged continued support for the fight against Ebola in West Africa, but made no specific new aid offers. China last month pledged $33 million in assistance to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and dispatched doctors and medical supplies.