Canberra — Australia on Monday ruled out sending doctors to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak there because of logistical problems in repatriating any Australian who became infected with the deadly virus.
Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, as well as the Australian opposition party have called on the government to send a medical team to assist in a worsening doctor shortage in West Africa where the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola has killed more than 3,000 people.
But Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Australian Health and Defense Departments had both advised that Australia could not safely evacuate Australian health workers back home.
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"The Australian government is not about to risk the health of Australian workers in the absence of credible evacuation plans that could bring our people back to Australia," Bishop told reporters.
An American doctor who was exposed to Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone was admitted Sunday to a hospital at the National Institutes of Health near Washington, D.C., the health agency said.
Four other American aid workers who were sickened by Ebola while volunteering in the West African outbreak have been treated at hospitals in Georgia and Nebraska. One remains hospitalized while the others have recovered.
Australia announced two weeks ago that it would immediately provide an additional 7 million Australian dollars ($6.4 million) to help the international response to the outbreak.
The country had previously committed AU$1 million to the response.