Top federal health officials have slammed the idea. Still, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is defending a new airport-screening policy that calls for medical workers returning to New York or New Jersey from West Africa to be placed under mandatory quarantine.
“The government’s job is to protect the safety and health of our citizens … I have no second thoughts about it,” Christie told host Chris Wallace during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all health-care workers returning from West Africa through Kennedy and Newark airports, who have had contact with Ebola patients, would be placed under a mandatory 21-day quarantine. Illinois has imposed a similar policy.
“We needed to do this to protect the public health of the people of New Jersey,” Christie said Sunday as he suggested that the federal government is not acting aggressively enough. “Governor Cuomo agreed and now Mayor Emanuel [of Chicago] agrees.”
The new policy followed Thursday’s announcement that a New York doctor had tested positive for the deadly virus after returning to the United States from treating Ebola patients in Guinea.
Christie said Sunday that a mandatory quarantine would help prevent an Ebola outbreak in the U.S.
“I think it will be national policy soon,” he told Wallace.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, disagrees.
Fauci hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit and warned that harsh treatment of health workers returning from Africa could backfire.
“We do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer,” Fauci told “Fox News Sunday.”
Fauci added that aggressive monitoring can accomplish the same results.
Watch Christie’s interview below.