NEWS

Ebola Travel Ban In Canada Results In An Estimated 176 People Being Turned Away

12/31/2014 11:49 EST | Updated 03/02/2015 05:59 EST
ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 file photo, a child stands near a sign advising of a quarantined home in an effort to combat the spread of the Ebola virus in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. Community leaders and Ebola surveillance teams are going house-to-house in neighborhoods in and around Sierra Leone’s capital to search for the sick. President Ernest Bai Koroma launched “Operation Western Area Surge” on Wednesday in a national broadcast. While infection rates appear to be stabilizing or declining in neighboring Guinea and Liberia, Sierra Leone is still seeing a surge of cases, especially the Western Area, which includes Freetown and its surroundings. (AP Photo/Michael Duff, File)
OTTAWA - Newly-released figures show an estimated 176 people were turned away from Canada after the imposition of a partial travel ban from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa.

The federal government put the controversial measures in place at the end of October, barring people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from receiving visas to come to Canada.

At the same time, the government announced it would also stop processing visa and visitor applications in the queue.

In newly-published information, the immigration department says an estimated 176 applications have been affected, resulting in a return of approximately $20,000 in fees.

The World Health Organization had asked countries not to close their borders due to the Ebola outbreak and Canada's move drew widespread condemnation.

But the government said the ban was only partial as it did not apply to Canadians coming from the affected region nor people who already had visas, and thus did not contravene international health regulations.

According to the most-recently available data from Statistics Canada, 904 people from the three countries came to Canada between January and October of this year.

The applications returned were for temporary resident visas and work and study permits, with the majority coming from Guinea.

The latest data from the WHO says there have been nearly 20,000 reported cases of the virus since the outbreak began last year and 7,588 reported deaths.

There are currently 37 Canadian Armed Forces doctors, medics, nurses and support staff working at a British-run Ebola treatment clinic in Sierra Leone.

Canada is also running two mobile laboratories in that country.

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