Infectious diseases are transnational health and national security threats. While the world is reeling from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Ebola has again emerged, simultaneously, in both Central and West Africa. The world cannot afford to turn the other way. We must do everything in our power to respond quickly, effectively, and with commensurate resources to stop these outbreaks before they become largescale epidemics.
President Biden has been briefed on the situation in both Central and West Africa, and his prayers are with the families of those who have died and those who are impacted by Ebola, COVID-19, and other ongoing global health challenges. The Biden Administration will do everything in its power to provide U.S. leadership to stop these outbreaks, working with the affected governments, the World Health Organization, the African Union and the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and neighboring states.
On February 16, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with the Ambassadors of Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and Liberia to the United States to convey the United States willingness to work closely with the governments of affected countries, and neighboring countries whose citizens would be at risk of the current outbreak spread. Mr. Sullivan emphasized President Biden’s commitment to provide U.S. leadership to strengthen health security and create better systems for preventing, detecting, and responding to health emergencies.
Outbreaks require swift and overwhelming response in order to avoid catastrophic consequences. Since the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the United States has endeavored to elevate and prioritize health security assistance with partners through the Global Health Security Agenda and with strong support from Congress. We cannot afford to take our foot off the gas – even as we battle COVID, we must ensure capacity and financing for health security worldwide. President Biden’s first National Security Memorandum directed that U.S. leadership in health security and global health be elevated, prioritized, and strengthened. The United States stands ready to do everything in its power to ensure a robust global response and to stop these outbreaks.