Australia Has Closed it Borders to Ebola Countries, but Won’t Say Why

The following is from the guardian on the border closings in Australia…

The government has refused an order by the Senate to reveal the reasons behind its ban on accepting refugees from Ebola-stricken Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, saying to disclose its advice would risk national security.

On Monday the immigration minister, Scott Morrison, announced that Australia’s humanitarian visa program for refugees from Ebola-affected west African countries would be suspended – including processing applications – until further notice.

Two days later the Senate ordered the government to table the advice it had relied on in making that decision, but on Thursday the assistant minister for immigration and border protection, Michaelia Cash, told the Senate the advice could not be revealed because it would “cause damage to national security”.

“The significant threat of Ebola continues in west Africa and whilst the level of preparedness in our country is very high, we are continually assessing our response and limiting risk wherever possible … the government does not believe it is in the public interest to release the documents,” Cash said.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young called for the refugee ban to be reversed.

“The lack of compassion and cruelty on display in this move has shocked the international community. Australia is being held up to ridicule because of the minister’s heartless approach to people in need,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Queensland premier, Campbell Newman, has written to Morrison asking him to order blanket screening by customs and quarantine officers for Ebola symptoms for all arrivals from affected west African countries. The Queensland health department would supply the thermometers and, in return, Newman would want passenger details to be shared with the state’s quarantine office and public health officials, who would then consider further tests.

Nineteen people from four west-African families are in home isolation in Queensland. They arrived in the state on humanitarian visas earlier this month, and one, an 18-year-old woman, was temporarily hospitalised with a fever but tested negative to Ebola on Monday. The group has another four days in quarantine.

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.