Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Health Minister Disagrees with Mandatory Ebola Quarantines

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Health Minister Disagrees with Mandatory Ebola Quarantines

Article excerpt

Minister won't back forced Ebola quarantine

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TORONTO - Putting asymptomatic health-care workers into quarantine upon their return from Ebola-affected countries is not "good science," Ontario's health minister said Monday.

Eric Hoskins, who is a medical doctor with infectious disease experience in Africa and a PhD in public health, said he doesn't agree with measures that are being taken in New York and New Jersey.

"I disagree with the premise that quarantine of health workers who are asymptomatic upon return -- I don't believe that that's good science and I think it actually discourages health-care workers from going to West Africa, which is how we're going to solve this epidemic," he said after question period Monday.

"This is a disincentive to them."

The governors of New York and New Jersey have been at odds with scientists over Ebola in ordering mandatory 21-day quarantines for medical workers returning from West Africa, even if they show no signs of the deadly disease.

A New Jersey nurse, who was the first person forced into a mandatory quarantine in the state, had protested being kept in a tent for two days and was talking about suing. Kaci Hickox was released Monday and allowed to go home to Maine.

The state-imposed quarantines were announced after Dr. Craig Spencer returned to his New York City apartment after treating Ebola victims in Guinea. Before he was hospitalized with a fever, he rode the subway, went bowling and ate at a restaurant.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, issued an updated guidance on Monday, recommending only voluntary, at-home quarantine for travellers from West Africa who are at highest risk for coming down with Ebola, and symptom monitoring for those at lower risk.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath spoke in favour of the quarantines, stressing the need to be "proactive. …

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