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John Kerry makes plea for Ebola help from African countries

Secretary of State John Kerry made an "urgent plea" to other nations, including African nations, to increase their response to the Ebola crisis with more people, supplies, and money.

"Every nation has the ability to do something on this challenge," Kerry said during a press conference at the State Department with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. "Now is the time for action, not words, and frankly there is not a moment to waste in this effort."

Kerry's remarks came just hours after Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, died in the Dallas hospital where he was being treated.

Kerry's plea echoed President Obama, who said two days earlier at a meeting of high-level officials working on the Ebola crisis that other countries have not been aggressive enough in contributing to the fight against the virus. Kerry said there is a more than $300 billion shortfall in fulfilling the $1 billion of urgent needs identified by the United Nations.

Like the president, Kerry noted that several smaller countries have "stepped up to the plate" and contributed far more per capita than some larger countries. He also specifically said that African countries with the capacity need to send more first responders to join the fight.

With the aid of several charts, Kerry ticked off a laundry list of supplies that are needed, including Ebola treatment units, health care workers, medevac capacity, mobile laboratories and staff, nonmedical support like telecommunications, generators and incinerators.

"All of these things are frankly urgent in order to be able to quickly move to contain the spread of Ebola," Kerry said. He also stressed the importance of not cutting off access to the region, saying, "We need airlines to continue to operate in West Africa and we need borders to remain open."

The administration said Wednesday that five U.S. airports will begin screening travelers originating from West African countries by giving them questionnaires and taking their temperatures in an effort to further prevent cases of the virus from spreading.

On the topic of ISIS, Kerry said U.S. representatives are flying to Turkey Thursday to discuss the role the country can play in saving Kobani, a Syrian border town that is about to be captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"This is of enormous concern to Turkey and they recognize that. These things have to be done in a thoughtful and careful way so everybody understands who is doing what," Kerry said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a no-fly zone over Syria, a "secure zone" in the region, and more training and equipment for the moderate Syrian opposition forces fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The idea of a buffer zone would be "through examination," Kerry said.

The U.S.-led coalition has launched limited airstrikes near Kobani but Kerry signaled Thursday that there is not likely to be an extensive American effort to intervene.

"As horrific as it is to watch in real time what is happening in Kobani, its also important to remember that you have to step back and understand the strategic objective and where we have begun over the course of the last weeks," Kerry said. He identified the principal U.S. objectives as hitting ISIS' command and control centers, and infrastructure in an attempt to incapacitate the group.

CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brennan contributed to this report.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.