NEW YORK—Voluntary quarantine doesn’t work, said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Friday. The governors are unleashing a new more stringent set of protocols for controlling Ebola.
State staff is screening John F. Kennedy Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport passengers and will be probing individuals coming from the three affected West African countries about their contact with Ebola.
People who have had direct contact with others infected with Ebola will be immediately quarantined for 21 days.
Those who have not had direct contact will be heavily monitored and may be quarantined.
A full interview of those coming from West Africa will be conducted, said Cuomo.
The measures come directly after Dr. Craig Spencer, who had treated patients with Ebola in West Africa through Doctors Without Borders, was announced infected with Ebola in New York Thursday night as he started showing symptoms.
Although Cuomo compared the Ebola scare to many in the past, such as SARS, the bird flu, and HIV, he also said that New York needed stricter regulations than those required by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at present, given its dense population.
“If someone slips out to their backyard into a forest, that’s a different story,” said Cuomo, “In New York, you slip out the door, you have to walk through a very crowded area.”
A female health care worker who flew in to Newark has already been quarantined, which Christie said is only the beginning with the new policy change.
Cuomo and Christie are also working with the CDC and Customs Border Patrol on keeping track of who comes into the two states.
“We are simply not satisfied,” said Christie of the current federal guidelines of voluntary quarantine. He referred to the NBC news crew who returned from West Africa and violated quarantine. “We don’t believe we can ask people to take that risk.”