FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AFP) – Sierra Leone accused Canada on Saturday of discrimination over its decision to suspend visa applications for residents of Ebola-hit nations.
Immigration Canada announced on Friday it would not process applications from individuals who had been in an Ebola-affected nation within the previous three months.
“The government views the decision as discriminatory, coming at a time when we are trying to ease the isolation, and not re-enforce it,” said Theo Nicol, Sierra Leone’s deputy information minister.
Canada’s immigration minister Chris Alexander had described the move as a precautionary measure building on actions “taken to protect the health and safety of Canadians here at home”.
“Canada’s action is not taken with the interests of west African states in mind. As a member of the Commonwealth of nations, Sierra Leone particularly feels we should share common understanding and goodwill,” Nicol told AFP.
Canada is also blocking new or existing visa applications from foreign nationals intending to travel to an Ebola-affected nation.
Although Canada has had several alerts for possible Ebola cases, the country has yet to record its first confirmed incidence of the disease.
The World Health Organization said Friday that Ebola had infected a total of 13,567 people so far, claiming 4,951 lives, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.