Air travellers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea must rebook their flights if they do not arrive at one of five US airports.

Ebola screening office at JFK airport in New York.

Five major airports, including New York’s JFK, began enhanced screenings

Passengers travelling to the US from three ebola-stricken countries in West Africa must enter the country through one of five airports, the government has said.

The designated airports – New York’s Kennedy, Newark Liberty, Washington’s Dulles, Chicago’s O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta – implemented enhanced ebola screenings earlier this month.

Officials said about 94% of the estimated 150 daily passengers from the stricken region pass through those five airports.

Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson said the new decision to force all air travellers to arrive at one of the five airports was based on the department’s “ongoing response to prevent the spread of ebola to the United States”.

“Today, I am announcing that all passengers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place,” Mr Johnson said in a news release.

 

“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption.

“If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travellers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed.”

The move comes days after President Barack Obama deflected growing calls for a complete travel ban from countries battling the deadly ebola outbreak.

Concerns over a possible epidemic on American soil emerged after a Liberian national tested positive for ebola after arriving in Texas in September.

Fears grew further after two nurses contracted the virus while treating the dying patient.

Some 120 people in Texas are still being monitored for symptoms of ebola because of contact or potential contact with Mr Duncan or the infected nurses.

There are also about 140 people being monitored in Ohio, where infected nurse Amber Vinson travelled by flight after treating Mr Duncan.

Both Ms Vinson and fellow nurse Nina Pham are said to be doing well as they continue to receive treatment at hospitals in Atlanta and Maryland, respectively.

Doctors on Tuesday upgraded Ms Pham’s condition from “fair” to “good”.

NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who became infected while working in Liberia, tweeted on Monday that he “feels lucky” to be on the path to recovery at hospital in Nebraska.

Meanwhile, an unidentified American who had been undergoing treatment for ebola at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta since 9 September, was released on Sunday after he tested free of the virus.

In Spain, doctors said on Tuesday that nursing assistant Teresa Romero was being removed from isolation after a series of blood tests indicated that her system was rid of the ebola virus.