President Obama is under pressure to end the practice of forced quarantines, imposed by some US states on healthcare workers returning from countries affected by Ebola.
The row was sparked after volunteer nurse Kaci Hickox became the first person to be held in New Jersey under the measures, despite not showing any symptoms of the deadly disease. Speaking to CNN in America, Hickox described her treatment as “inhumane” after she was held in a makeshift Ebola quarantine centre at University Hospital in Newark with no heating, and dressed only in medical scrubs. The Doctors without Borders nurse, who had spent a month working in Sierra Leone, has tested negative for the virus and remains in isolation.
So far the governors of New York, New Jersey and Illinois have all imposed quarantines. It follows the first case of Ebola in New York last week, after Dr Craig Spencer returned from Guinea and began to show symptoms of the virus. He has since tested positive and has received a blood transfusion from aid worker Nancy Writebol, who contracted and survived Ebola.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie hit back at claims the 21-day forced quarantine is heavy handed yesterday, telling Fox News: “I don’t think when you’re dealing with something as serious as this you can count on voluntary system. This is the government’s job…this is a policy that will become a national policy sooner rather than later.”