Travel ban because of media hysteria Dr Aaron Motsoaledi

“If the trip is non-essential we don’t want people to come. "

FILE: Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi says the new b an on allowing people into South Africa from west African countries affected by Ebola is due to the hysteria and panic caused by the media and is an effort to ensure that the government wards off an outbreak of the deadly disease South Africa.

Two people have been tested for Ebola in South Africa in the last two weeks, and both have tested negative.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702's John Robbie on Friday, Motsoaledi said the country's had been divided into two categories - high- and medium-risk. Those countries categorised as high were Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, while Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia were rated as medium risk.

When asked him to elaborate on the ban and what it meant the minister said: "If the trip is non-essential then we don't want people to come. Remember within the affected countries their presidents there have cordon laws and areas which they have quarantined, people are not allowed to leave those areas. So we're just adding onto what they have done themselves."

He reiterated that there is no Ebola in Kenya and Ethiopia but that the people who come from the affected countries in west Africa travel via those countries.

Adressing the actual ban restrictions Motsoaledi said, "If the travel is not essential then it is banned. But if you can prove that it is essential then we will assess if it will be allowed. So it's not a total ban, if you can prove that you have to be in west Africa and state your reasons; for instance we've just sent a team from the NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases) to go help over there. In that case we couldn't ban the travel because they were going over there to help contain the virus."

He said that there would be a briefing for people with business interests in Liberia today. He stated that the meeting would address those with mining, security, retail and communications operations in Liberia. The meeting would deal with the measures being taken by government and what they had planned to do.