Italian governor calls for US servicemen to leave over Ebola virus

Call on US authorities to repatriate all those US military personnel who served in Liberia

After an Italian businessman ended up in court because of an unfortunate joke about the Ebola virus, it is worth pointing out that at least one Italian regional authority is most definitely not laughing about the disease.

Luca Zaia, governor of the northeastern Veneto region, this week called on US authorities to repatriate all those US military personnel who have served in Liberia rather than have them undergo quarantine on Italian soil.

Mr Zaia made his comments after 11 soldiers returned to the US base of Ederle in Vicenza this week after serving some weeks in Liberia, helping with the logistical preparations necessary to deal with the pandemic.

Although the US military assured Italian authorities that there was little risk of any of the soldiers having contracted Ebola, they were nonetheless placed in a 21-day quarantine. Mr Zaia, however, said to Italian daily La Repubblica: "Why should we have to put up with these soldiers at risk [of contagion]. . . How come no one asks what is the basis of the principle whereby they bring back soldiers from a country that is on red alert because of a killer disease and they send them to Italy?


“If it was up to me, then these soldiers, despite all my sympathy for the USA, should be sent home to the States . . . It’s a case of Veneto people first and after that come the Americans . . .”

Given that it is expected that another 30 US military personnel will be brought back to Vicenza from Liberia this weekend, the issue seems set to remain controversial. The local branch of the M5S protest party has called for personnel who served in Liberia to be “sent back to Washington”.