US judge rejects restrictions on nurse ignoring Ebola quarantine

US judge rejects restrictions on nurse ignoring Ebola quarantine

A judge has rejected a bid by health officials in Maine to restrict the movement of nurse Kaci Hickox, who defied a quarantine for medical workers who have treated Ebola patients.

Judge Charles C LaVerdiere ruled today that she should continue daily monitoring and co-ordinate travel with state officials so monitoring can continue. But, because she is not showing symptoms, the judge said she is not infectious.

The state went to court yesterday to impose restrictions until the 21-day incubation period for Ebola ends on November 10.

Ms Hickox, who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, contended confinement at her home in northern Maine violated her rights.

She also contended it is not necessary because she poses no risk. She defied the state’s voluntary quarantine by holding a news conference and going for a bike ride.

State police, who had been monitoring Ms Hickox’s house in Fort Kent, Maine, left the residence shortly after 12.30pm local time.

Ms Hickox, 33, stepped into the media glare when she returned from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone to become subject to a mandatory quarantine in New Jersey.

After being released from a hospital there, she returned to Fort Kent, where she was placed under what Maine authorities called a voluntary quarantine.

She said she is following the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation of daily monitoring for fever and other signs of the disease.

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

The legal action is shaping up as the nation’s biggest test case yet in the struggle to balance public health and fear of Ebola against personal freedom.

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