New York eases Ebola screening rules after White House interferes

As Ebola menace continues to threaten people across the globe, including the US, American states are rushing to stitch up a set of screening procedures to be at their cautionary best. However, after the White House interfered, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was forced to slacken the procedures a bit, sparing quarantine for those who show no signs and had no contact with Ebola patients.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Oct 27, 2014, 19:21 PM IST
New York eases Ebola screening rules after White House interferes

New York: As Ebola menace continues to threaten people across the globe, including the US, American states are rushing to stitch up a set of screening procedures to be at their cautionary best. However, after the White House interfered, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was forced to slacken the procedures a bit, sparing quarantine for those who show no signs and had no contact with Ebola patients.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and City Mayor Bill de Blasio attended a late Sunday night press conference, laying out the fresh guidelines for screening at JFK International Airport.

According to the new guidelines, those health workers arriving from West African countries who had neither any contact with Ebola patients, nor show any symptoms, will be spared quarantine. Though they will be dealt on a case-by-case basis.

“At the minimum the New York State Department of Health or local health department will monitor these individuals twice a day for temperature and other symptoms until the 21 day incubation period is over, but these individuals would not automatically be subject to quarantine,” says the new protocol.

Now only those who either show Ebola signs or have been in contact with Ebola patients, are needed to undergo quarantine.

Under quarantine, they will be paid at least two unannounced visits by local officials (in coordination with state health officials) each day. The officials will check the individual’s condition as well as ensure that the individual is complying with the quarantine order.

Earlier even such patients were subjected to undergo home confinement for 21 days.

However, the White House stepped in, warning that such tough screening procedures will deter the health workers from treating Ebola patients.

The furore over the screening procedures come after an American nurse named Kaci Hickox, who is the first health worker to have been forcibly quarantined in New Jersey under the state's new policy, complained about the treatment meted out to her.

In an interview to the CNN, she lashed out at the new policies calling them “inhumane”.

"We have to be very careful about letting politicians make health decisions," she added.

Seeking to calm the outrage, New York Mayor De Blasio pitched that all such health workers should be treated better.

“This hero was treated with disrespect, was treated with a sense that she had done something wrong, when she hadn't; was not given a clear direction," de Blasio said in the conference.