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Ebola crisis: Kaci Hickox fights quarantine in Maine


A nurse who cared for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone is fighting the US state of Maine over its right to quarantine her against her will.

In a test case for returning US health workers, Kaci Hickox has vowed to leave her home on Thursday if the state does not lift the restrictions.

President Barack Obama has been sharply critical of isolation being forced on people he says are “American heroes”.

Almost 5,000 people have died from the Ebola virus, mostly in West Africa.

On Thursday, US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power is expected to call for a stronger international response when she meets EU officials in Brussels.

She has been visiting the countries most affected – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – to show US support, as well as Ghana, where the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response is based.

The infection last week of a doctor in New York who had returned from Guinea has sparked a debate in the US over isolation policies for people coming back from West Africa.

Dr Craig Spencer had travelled on the subway and been bowling the night before he developed a fever, which is the point when people become contagious.

The governors of New York and New Jersey introduced mandatory quarantines as a result, and Ms Hickox was outraged to be put in a tent in Newark on returning from Sierra Leone last Friday.

Officials said she had a temperature – which she denies – but she was released from Newark on Monday and flown back to Maine to be monitored at her boyfriend’s house in Fort Kent.

“I am not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” said Ms Hickox, who has tested negative for Ebola twice and has no symptoms.

She appeared briefly outside the house on Wednesday night to speak to reporters and express her continued frustration.

“I’m not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it’s not science-based,'” she said.

Source: BBC