New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is receiving criticism on many sides over his new Ebola policies. As scientists, medical experts, and the ACLU all decry enforced quarantines for health professionals who test negative for Ebola, Christie is standing firm, and maintaining that his policy will be nationwide soon.
On Friday, the New Jersey governor announced a new policy for Newark and JFK International Airports, in conjunction with New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo. Passengers entering the country from Ebola-affected areas through those airports would face additional scrutiny, Governor Christie said, including Ebola screenings. Health workers who had directly worked with Ebola patients would face a three-week quarantine, regardless of symptoms.
He further announced that the first subject of this policy had already been quarantined, despite showing no symptoms.
It wasn’t long before the policy began to receive criticism. According to KESQ, the nurse quarantined has spoken out, calling the policy a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ and saying she feels as though her basic human rights have been violated.
Now, NJ reports that additional agencies, including Doctors Without Borders, are speaking out against the policy, saying that even if infected, a person is not contagious until symptoms begin, and that even then, to transfer the disease would require close contact with bodily fluids.
The ACLU of New Jersey is demanding that Governor Chris Christie provide a legitimate legal reason for enforcing a quarantine on a person who has tested negative for Ebola twice, and continues to show no symptoms.
Christie stood firm on his decision on Sunday, though, first speaking on Fox News, then reiterating his points on Twitter, saying that he has no second thoughts about his Ebola policies, and that he believes they will be applied nationwide in short order.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 26, 2014
Christie explained that a voluntary system (as opposed to enforced quarantines) runs the risk of people failing to comply, quickly reversing to say that people who are willing to volunteer their efforts for Ebola eradication will surely understand and be willing to submit to quarantine.
Other than repeating that he believes his policies are the right choice, Governor Chris Christie has not directly responded to criticism, or the ACLU’s challenge.