Barack Obama has warned of Ebola spreading globally if more is not done to stop the epidemic raging out of control in west Africa, as he urged the US public not to lose sight of the importance of focusing on tackling the disease at its source.
As pressure grows on the White House to explain failures to prevent a second case of transmission within the US, the president announced a “rapid response Swat team” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would aim to respond to any further infections within 24 hours “to take local hospitals step by step through what needs to be done”.
The president also cancelled a trip to Rhode Island and New York on Thursday to focus on his administration’s response to domestic cases of Ebola, the White House said late on Wednesday.
“I am absolutely confident that we can prevent a serious outbreak of the disease here in the United States, but it becomes more difficult to do so if this epidemic of Ebola rages out of control in west Africa. If it does, then it will spread globally in an age of frequent travel and the kind of constant interactions that people have across borders,” he told reporters after an emergency two-hour meeting of his cabinet.