Australia prompts outrage by becoming first Western country to ban visitors from Ebola-hit areas of Africa

(Health workers in Liberia carry a woman suspected of contracting the virus)

Australia has prompted outrage by becoming the first Western country to ban visitors from Ebola-hit areas of Africa, amid warnings the restrictions could make it harder to fight the deadly disease.

In a dramatic move announced today, the government said it would refuse entry to anyone travelling from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – the countries most severely hit by the epidemic – despite there being no known cases of the virus in Australia.

But a Sierra Leone official condemned the ban, describing it as ‘counter-productive’ and ‘too draconian’.

Liberia’s president urged Australia to reconsider its decision, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned travel restrictions could seriously hamper efforts to beat Ebola.

The unprecedented moves comes amid calls from Republicans for a travel ban to be imposed in the U.S – something which has so far been resisted by Barack Obama.

Announcing the decision, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament the government’s processes were ‘working to protect Australians’…

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