Target: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Goal: End travel ban from Ebola-stricken countries
As the fear of Ebola has fostered widespread panic, many have asked why nations clear of the virus don’t simply close their doors. The answer is clear and simple: it won’t help anyone. Still, Australia has put a ban on visas, blocking anyone from virus-afflicted countries from entering its borders. The restriction cancels all temporary visas and bars any new visa applications from being processed. Any permanent visa holders will undergo a 21-day period of quarantine before departure.
Nearly 5,000 people have died from the recent Ebola outbreak, according to the World Health Organization, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The virus is spreading much faster than effective efforts to contain it, and many potential volunteer health care workers are refusing to join the fight for fear of becoming infected.
Banning travel from afflicted areas is counterproductive and heartless. Containment is the only way to stop the virus’ deadly course, and this requires more help, more resources and more involvement from every country. Continuing travel allows officials to track the infected, screen travelers, and help fight the virus. If every country not suffering infection were to close its borders, they would condemn whole populations to die and encourage untracked and illegal border crossings of the potentially infected.
The Ebola outbreak is an international crisis, deserving a united, international response. To protect its citizens, each country must involve itself and supply whatever support available, not spread fear and distrust.
Sign this petition condemning Australia’s visa ban.
Dear Prime Minister Abbott,
The Ebola outbreak is spreading faster than the world can react. The overriding consensus is that the best way to contain the virus is by avoiding travel restrictions and providing aid wherever possible. Decisions led by fear stand only to encourage the virus’ spread. Australia’s ban has been criticized by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Amnesty International and Sierra Leone’s Information Minister Alpha Kanu, as it fails to address the main issues at hand.
The travel ban is not targeting the Ebola outbreak, but the citizens of the countries that are most in danger. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea need assistance in this time of crisis from any country wishing to keep its own citizens safe, not fearful and counterproductive measures.
I urge you to end Australia’s ban on visas for travelers from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: CDC/Dr. Lyle Conrad via Wikimedia Commons