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Obama praises health workers fighting Ebola as 'heroes'

Updated: 2014-10-30 09:25

Obama praises health workers fighting Ebola as 'heroes'

Healthcare professionals listen as US President Barack Obama (C) speaks about the government's Ebola response from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Oct 29, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday paid honor to healthcare workers who have treated Ebola patients in West Africa, calling them "heroes" deserving to be applauded rather than discouraged.

"All of them have signed up to leave their homes and their loved ones to head straight into the heart of the Ebola epidemic," Obama said. "They do this for no other reason than their own sense of duty ... We need to call them what they are, which is American heroes."

Obama noted that those healthcare workers should be "treated with dignity and with respect", apparently criticizing mandatory quarantine policies for "high-risk" returning individuals that have been put in place by New York, New Jersey and other US states.

Obama made the remarks at the White House after meeting with a number of healthcare workers who have returned from the front line of the fight in West Africa.

He stressed that with or without travel bans and quarantines, no one could promise that there won't be any more cases in America or any place else.

"So yes, we are likely to see a possible case elsewhere outside of these countries," he said. "Because that's the nature of today' s world, we can't hermetically seal ourselves off."

Obama also spoke of a Chinese airplane's landing in facilities that the United States had helped organize, saying it showed "the world is now starting to respond".

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