US airports start screening passengers for Ebola; US and Japan plan more defense cooperation; Thai PM travels to Burma on first official foreign visit; new Palestinian unity government to hold first meeting; and more
Top of the Agenda
U.S. Airports to Screen for Ebola
The White House announced it will begin screening passengers from West Africa (NYT) next week for potential Ebola carriers in the country's five busiest airports. Travelers coming from West Africa to New York, Newark, Washington, DC, Atlanta, and Chicago, which together receive 94 percent (Al Jazeera) of travelers from the countries hit hardest by Ebola, will have their temperatures taken and will be required to complete a questionnaire. The decision comes after the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died Wednesday in Dallas. On Wednesday, the World Bank forecast that the epidemic's economic toll could reach $32.6 billion (AP) if it continues to spread in 2015.
"In the age of globalization, there is no simple way to bar viral entry across national borders. Flights route through multiple countries; jet-age travel allows incubating viral colonies to thrive inside an asymptomatic human, only emerging days after the person has arrived at his or her destination," writes CFR's Laurie Garrett.
"Although some experts doubt the new screenings will be worth the effort, they might ease public anxieties about keeping the virus out of this country. Thus far, only one traveler with an Ebola infection has entered the United States. He apparently had no symptoms on arrival and traveled to Dallas, where he became ill and died in a hospital on Wednesday. It is unclear whether the new screening measures would have identified him as an Ebola carrier," writes the New York Times.
"The epidemic has exposed a disconnect between the aspirations of global health officials and the reality of infectious disease control. Officials hold faraway strategy sessions about fighting emerging diseases and bioterrorism even as front-line doctors and nurses don't have enough latex gloves, protective gowns, rehydrating fluid or workers to carry bodies to the morgue," writes the Washington Post.
U.S.-Japan Defense Ties to Expand
The United States and Japan released a provisional report on Wednesday boosting defense cooperation (Japan Times) and emphasizing the "global nature" of the partnership. An expanded U.S. presence is likely an attempt to defuse friction over regional maritime territorial disputes.
This CFR InfoGuide analyzes the origins of and tensions in China's maritime disputes.
THAILAND: Former general and new Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha travels to Myanmar (Bangkok Post) on his first foreign visit as prime minister on Thursday. He and his counterpart there are expected to focus on a port development project, the energy sector, and border security.
New Palestinian unity government to hold first meeting
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org