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US judge restricts nurse movements

31 October 2014, 20:26

New York - A US judge on Friday ordered an American nurse who treated Ebola patients in Africa to stay away from public places and maintain a three-foot distance from others.

Kaci Hickox insists that she is perfectly healthy and has bitterly criticized efforts of US authorities to keep her in quarantine for 21 days, the incubation period for the virus, since returning home to Maine.

In a temporary order, district judge Charles LaVerdiere barred her from public places such as shopping centers and cinemas, and ordered her to maintain a three-foot (one-meter) distance from others when walking or jogging.

A final ruling was expected later Friday.

Also read: Experts urge caution over Ebola hopes

The order comes after Hickox and her boyfriend left their home in the town of Fort Kent in the northeastern state on Thursday to go on a bike ride in the full glare of TV cameras.

LaVerdiere demanded that Hickox submit to direct, active monitoring, coordinate her travel with public health authorities and avoid commercial and public transport.

The White House and public health officials have criticized measures taken by some US states that quarantine medics returning from treating Ebola-infected patients in west Africa.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie kept Hickox in an isolation tent for three days after she flew back from Sierra Leone, before letting her go on Monday after she tested negative for Ebola.

She was driven to Maine, which imposed its own quarantine and sought the court order to keep her at home after she vowed to fight the regulations. Her incubation period is to end November 10.

"They will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public, even though I am completely healthy and symptom-free," Hickox said outside her home late Wednesday.

President Barack Obama has sought to reassure the public amid controversy over the quarantine measures, saying those who volunteer on the front lines should be applauded for their service.



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