Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the French-founded medical humanitarian aid organization, said on Thursday that mandatory quarantines ordered by some US states on doctors and nurses returning from Ebola-hit West Africa are creating a “chilling effect” on the agency’s operations there.
Reuters cited MSF, or Doctors Without Borders, as saying that the group is discussing whether to shorten some assignments as a result of restrictions imposed by some states since one of its American doctors, Craig Spencer, was hospitalized in New York City last week with the virus.
“There is rising anxiety and confusion among MSF staff members in the field over what they may face when they return home upon completion of their assignments in West Africa,” Sophie Delaunay, executive director of Doctors Without Borders, was quoted as saying in an emailed statement.
Some MSF workers are delaying their return home after their assignments and staying in Europe for 21 days, Ebola’s maximum incubation period, “in order to avoid facing rising stigmatization at home and possible quarantine,” Delaunay said in her statement to Reuters.
“Some people are being discouraged by their families from returning to the field,” she said.
The comments came after New York and New Jersey announced strict new screening rules at airports last Friday, including mandatory 21-day quarantines for any healthcare worker who had been treating Ebola patients in West Africa.
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