The Obama administration has questioned mandatory quarantines imposed by some US states for travelers from Ebola-affected West African countries, saying the policies could have unintended consequences.
“We have let the governors of New York, New Jersey, and others states know that we have concerns with the unintended consequences of policies not grounded in science may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source in West Africa,” the White House said in a statement Sunday, Reuters reported.
New Jersey, New York and Illinois have started imposing quarantines on anyone arriving with a high risk of having contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where the epidemic has killed nearly 5,000 people.
The new rules came a day after a New York doctor, Craig Spencer, was diagnosed with Ebola on Thursday after he returned from treating patients in Guinea. The doctor, now in isolation, moved freely around the city before he had symptoms that would make him contagious.
Meanwhile, a nurse who became the first health worker isolated under the new measures plans to file a lawsuit, arguing that the order violates her constitutional rights, the report said.
Kaci Hickox, being held in isolation at a Newark, New Jersey hospital, plans to contest her quarantine in court, her attorney were quoted as saying.
Hickox arrived on Friday at Newark Liberty International Airport after working in Sierra Leone with Ebola patients and was put into quarantine under New Jersey’s 21-day mandatory quarantine.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, meanwhile, defended the new quarantine policy, saying: “I don’t believe when you’re dealing with something as serious as this that we can count on a voluntary system.”
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