One Country Just Instituted a Deliciously Ironic Ebola Travel Restriction


The news: Rwanda, which has not had a single case of Ebola in the ongoing epidemic, has just instituted travel restrictions against two countries. But it's probably not the ones you're thinking.

This week, the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda announced that the country will enforce strict rules regarding visitors from the U.S. and Spain.

"Visitors who have been in the United States or Spain during the last 22 days are now required to report their medical condition — regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms of Ebola — by telephone by dialing 114 between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. for the duration of their visit to Rwanda (if less than 21 days), or for the first 21 days of their visit to Rwanda," the notice reads.

Tables have been turned. While Rwanda has been enforcing travel bans since August against people coming from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the three West African nations hardest hit by Ebola, the latest restrictions follow Ebola-related deaths on American and Spanish soil.

And despite the fact that Rwanda is more than 2,500 miles away from the West African outbreak and has yet to report a single case of Ebola, its citizens have been victims of Ebola racism in America, as have others from the African continent.

New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer has a helpful roundup of Americans who have "no idea how African geography works, let alone how a non-airborne virus is transmitted." This includes a New Jersey elementary school that asked two students from Rwanda to stay at home and hundreds of parents in Mississippi who pulled their kids out of school because the principal attended his brother's funeral in Zambia, which is 3,000 miles away from the outbreak and has no known cases of Ebola.

So people have not allowed basic geography or biology to cloud their judgment, which in this case means that anyone coming from anywhere in the whole of Africa can unleash an Ebola epidemic in the suburbs of America.

And now Rwanda has responded in kind, which makes sense, as the US has actually reported an Ebola death.