Date
19 November 2017
Nurse Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend Ted Wilbur talk to the media in Maine. Hickox is trying to fend off mandatory quarantine. Photo: Reuters
Nurse Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend Ted Wilbur talk to the media in Maine. Hickox is trying to fend off mandatory quarantine. Photo: Reuters

Maine Ebola nurse defies quarantine, bikes in open road

A nurse who has been ordered into quarantine by the state government in Maine is refusing to budge.

When authorities threatened her with legal action, Kaci Hickox, 33, responded with her feet — she went cycling in the open road.

That set her up on a collision course with Maine Gov. Paul LePage who said he will “exercise the full extent of the law”, Reuters reported Friday.

That law requires mandatory 21-day quarantine for anyone who has been to any of the three Ebola-stricken West African countries — Libera, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Hickox worked with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone.

“It’s a beautiful day for a bike ride,” said Hickox, as she headed out for her five-kilometer ride while police stationed outside her house stood by without trying to stop her, according to local media.

LePage’s office said he was open to an arrangement in which she could go for walks, runs or bike rides but not go into public places or come within three feet of other people.

Attorneys for Hickox said they had not yet been served with a court order to enforce the 21-day quarantine — the virus’s maximum incubation period — but remained prepared to fight such an order if necessary.

The showdown between Hickox and Maine has become the focal point of a struggle between several US states opting for stringent measures to guard against Ebola and a federal government wary of discouraging potential medical volunteers.

Mandatory quarantines ordered by some US states on doctors and nurses returning from West Africa’s Ebola outbreak are creating a “chilling effect” on Doctors Without Borders operations there, the humanitarian group said on Thursday.

President Barack Obama, who has criticized mandatory quarantine policies imposed by some states for returning medical workers like Hickox, flew to Maine on Thursday to campaign in the town of Cape Elizabeth for Democratic candidates, including Mike Michaud, who is trying to unseat LePage in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

He did not address the Ebola issue in public remarks at a voter rally.

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RC/RA

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