The Obama administration is pressing the governors of New York and New Jersey to drop their quarantine orders for medical personnel reentering the United States if they had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa, the New York Times reported, citing an administration official.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, left, speaks as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie listens at a news conference, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 in New York. (Image source: AP/Mark Lennihan)
In fact, the Times said, top administration officials have been speaking daily with Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and have been in touch with Chris Christie of New Jersey regarding the matter. But on Sunday neither governor would budge from his stance, noting federal guidelines don't go far enough, the Times reported.
A senior administration official told the Times the governors' decision is “uncoordinated, very hurried" and "doesn’t comport with science.”
“The entire city was not informed, even the mayor’s office,” a New York City official involved in state's Ebola response told the Times. “The mayor was caught unaware.”
“The big picture decision was made in the absence of any deep thinking about what implementing the policy would entail,” the official told the Times.
Meanwhile the quarantined nurse who criticized how she was treated after her plane landed in Newark, New Jersey, has retained a well-known civil rights lawyer, Norman Siegel, to challenge her quarantine order and get her out of isolation, the Times said.
“The policy infringes on Kaci Hickox’s constitutional liberty interests,” he noted in an interview on Sunday, the Times said. "The policy is overly broad as applied to Ms. Hickox and we are preparing to challenge it on her behalf."
The Times noted the new federal policy regarding travelers returning from Ebola-hit areas are set to take effect Monday:
Under that new policy, any traveler retuning from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea will be required to report their temperatures to their local health authorities. They will also be required to give health officials the names and addresses of their relatives and where they will be staying in the three weeks after they arrive, the approximate amount of time the disease takes to incubate.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease, said it was vital not to do anything that might interfere with the flow of health workers to West Africa.
“The harm is that it is totally disruptive of their life. We want them to go because they are helping us to protect America to be over there,” Dr. Fauci said on CNN.