MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti) — The Australian government is suspending visa applications from Ebola-hit countries in West Africa to avoid the virus spreading in the country, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said Monday.
"These measures include temporarily suspending our immigration program, including our humanitarian program, from Ebola-affected countries, and this means we are not processing any application from these [West African] affected countries," Morrison was quoted by ABC Net as saying in parliament, adding that already processed temporary and non-permanent visas of those who had not yet departed for Australia would be cancelled.
"And other permanent visa holders who haven't arrived in Australia are being required to submit to a 21-day quarantine period prior to departure to Australia," he added.
The announcement comes as the government has been criticized by the Australian Greens opposition party and the Medical Association for its approach to the Ebola outbreak and unwillingness to send a medical team to the affected countries.
The latest World Health Organization (WHO) Ebola case count indicated that a total of 10,141 confirmed, probable and suspected cases have been reported so far. The Ebola virus has caused 4,922 deaths, with the hardest hit West African countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea accounting for 4,912.
International efforts have been launched to help affected countries fight against the deadly virus, with the Australian government having allocated $18 million to fight the outbreak.