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Friday, October 17, 2014

Obama names former White House official Klain Ebola 'czar'

President Barack Obama has asked former White House adviser Ron Klain to coordinate US efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak, an administration official said today, after criticism the government's response to the virus has been slow and inadequate.

Klain, a lawyer and businessman, was a senior White House aide to Obama and chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden. Earlier, he served as chief of staff for Vice President Al Gore, and also for former US Attorney General Janet Reno.

He will report to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and national security adviser Susan Rice, the official said.

The decision to appoint a so-called Ebola czar follows the infection of a second Dallas nurse who had treated the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed on US soil, Thomas Eric Duncan.

The Obama administration has faced sharp criticism from some lawmakers over efforts to contain the disease at home.

US lawmakers held a congressional hearing yesterday about the administration's handling of the outbreak and some called for a ban on travel from West Africa, where the disease has killed nearly 4,500 people.

The disease continues to spread in West Africa where the outbreak began in March, and reached the last remaining district in Sierra Leone that had not been affected by Ebola.

US Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta told reporters separately that the government was assessing whether to issue a travel ban "on a day-to-day basis."

Jamaica announced an immediate travel ban yesterday and Guyana said it has denied entry to citizens from four Ebola-hit West African nations during the past five weeks.

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Tags:  Obama  Ebola  US  Africa  health  





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