New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended his state's mandatory 21-day quarantine for all returning medical workers who treated Ebola in West African countries, saying he believes it will become standard procedure nationwide.
"I don't think when you're dealing with something as serious as this you can count on a voluntary system," he said during an appearance on "Fox New Sunday." "This is the government's job."
Christie (R) and New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) both imposed the mandatory quarantine for their states Friday. Christie said he believes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will eventually follow suit.
"I think this is a policy that will become a national policy sooner or later," he said.
Kaci Hickox, a nurse who was quarantined after traveling from Sierra Leonne to New Jersey on Friday, wrote in the Dallas Morning News about her opposition to the policy. She tested negative for Ebola on Saturday. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has also come out against the policy.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, criticized the mandatory quarantines, saying they could have “unintended consequences” of deterring volunteers from going to the Ebola-stricken West African nations to help contain the spread of the disease.
“The best way to protect us is to stop the epidemic in Africa, and we need those health-care workers so we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go,” he said.
He said active monitoring of returning health-care workers works better than a quarantine, and Fauci stressed that the virus cannot spread unless an infected individual shows symptoms.
Fauci appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” ABC’s “This Week,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and CBS’s “Face the Nation.”