Schilling: Stop Commercial Flights Into and Out of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea

Press Release

Date: Oct. 17, 2014
Location: East Moline, IL
Issues: Foreign Affairs

Former Congressman and Congressional candidate Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) is calling for an immediate halt of commercial air traffic in and out of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the three countries where the Ebola virus is out of control, and any new countries that experience an uncontrolled outbreak.

"I have been constantly amazed by the ineptitude of President Obama and international agencies who keep saying it would be counter-productive to halt flights in and out of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia because there would be no way to get world health experts and medical supplies into and out of those countries," Schilling said.

"We must protect our population, first and foremost. The answer is to immediately halt commercial air traffic with hundreds of civilian passengers who could then spread the virus all over our country and the world," Schilling continued. "Instead, we should be using U.S. government small planes for Center for Disease Control (CDC) personnel and technicians who can wear masks and hazmat suits on the way out. A small plane with a few experts and medical supplies is infinitely better able to have both the passengers and the plane itself controlled and quarantined upon arrival."

"It absolutely defies common sense why this hasn't been done already," Schilling said.

Schilling noted that neighboring countries Nigeria and Senegal have stamped out their Ebola outbreaks in small part by sealing their borders with Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. In this case, the world is like a hospital--those who have deadly contagious diseases are put in isolation until they are out of danger of spreading the disease. The same needs to be done with countries. It seems to have been part of the solution for Nigeria and Senegal.

Nigeria had 20 Ebola cases and eight deaths with 900 people potentially exposed. They got to business with a massive sense of urgency from the beginning with outstanding epidemiological detective work, and they closed their borders with countries where the outbreak was uncontrolled.

Schilling also said he has heard from numerous doctors and nurses here at home who are alarmed at the very slow progress in developing protocols on what to do if confronted by the need to treat a potential Ebola victim.

"Our Administration and healthcare leaders need to work around the clock until this vital planning is done because the Ebola virus is already here," concluded Schilling.

Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) was born and raised in Rock Island, Illinois. He has been married to his wife, Christie for 28 years and together they have 10 children. Schilling represented the Illinois 17th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011-2012, serving on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Agriculture Committee, and the House Small Business Committee. Schilling is seeking another term and is running against incumbent Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.