|Dr. Craig Spencer, New York City's first Ebola patient, is a member of Doctors Without Borders. He is being treated in an isolation ward in Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola centre. (Craig Spencer/LinkedIn|
New York and New Jersey will automatically quarantine medical workers returning from Ebola-hit West African countries and the U.S. government is considering the same step after a doctor who treated patients in Guinea came back infected, officials said on Friday.
The steps announced by the two states, which go beyond the current restrictions being imposed by U.S. President Barack Obama's administration on travellers from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, came as medical detectives tried to retrace the steps in New York City of Craig Spencer, who tested positive for Ebola on Thursday.
Spencer, who returned from Guinea on Oct. 17, rode the subway, ate out, took a cab and went bowling in the Brooklyn borough since he got back
The new policy applies to medical workers returning from the region through John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. In the first instance of the new move, a female health-care worker who had treated patients in West Africa and arrived at the Newark, New Jersey, airport was ordered into quarantine.
"Voluntary quarantine is almost an oxymoron," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "We've seen what happens ... You ride a subway. You ride a bus. You could infect hundreds and hundreds of people."
"It's too serious a situation to leave it to the honour system of compliance," Cuomo said.