"Closing borders will not defeat the Ebola virus"

CNN reports that the US military has started isolating soldiers returning from an Ebola response mission in West Africa and on Monday Australia imposed a visa ban on the affected countries amid the world’s anxiety about the spread of the Ebola virus.

The Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 5,000 people since March, with a vast majority of these cases affecting West Africa, and nine Ebola cases reported in the United States.

Despite having no recorded cases of Ebola, Australia has issued a blanket ban on visas from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa to prevent the disease reaching the country.

Australian, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has so far resisted repeated requests to send medical personnel to help battle the epidemic on the ground.

Sierra Leone born CNN reporter, Isha Sesay says that she is an “angry black woman” over the way that Western media has framed the Ebola story. Speaking in a session at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2014, Sesay is quoted as saying that “the focus of the Western media has been on America and the fear that the Western hemisphere is going to be taken over by the virus – the coverage of the [African] continent is so fixated on the continent and so little on the people [affected]”.

Speaking to Xolani Gwala, Sesay explains her bewilderment at the fact that during a public health emergency that has affected so many people; the coverage has reflected so little of that.

The fixation has been on the handful of cases that have sprung up in the US and Spain, and the language has gone between ‘keep out all Africans or all West Africans’ or ‘schools being quarantined’. I am bewildered and that is the most accurate way of putting how I feel. I oscillate from bewilderment to sometimes just being really really angry

CNN Reporter Isha Sesay speaking on the framing of the Ebola story

Commenting on the news that Australia has closed their borders, Sesany says that in a globalized, inter-connected world unless the problem is dealt with at the source everyone is in danger.

You can close your borders all you want but at the end of the day if this epidemic, at source, is not dealt with, contained and ultimately defeated you’re never really safe. The efforts should be on scaling up the response [to this disease] as a global community and not this kind of individualism of people closing their borders and thinking that will make them safe

CNN Reporter Isha Sesay speaking on the international community's response to the Ebola epidemic

Listen to Xolani's full conversation with Isha Sesay below:


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