ACCRA, Ghana – Ambassador Samantha Power said Tuesday she would “obey the law” but did not elaborate on whether she would be quarantined upon returning to the U.S. after touring countries hard-hit by Ebola. Power, the Ambassador to the United Nations, is in West Africa to drum up more international support for combating the deadly virus. Her trip comes amid controversy over the decision by some U.S. states to order quarantines for all health workers who have treated patients in West Africa, regardless of whether they have symptoms. Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, told NBC News in an exclusive interview that the quarantines were “an overreaction.” One U.S. nurse returning from the region, Kaci Hickox, told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Wednesday that she would not be obeying Maine’s quarantine request.
When asked at a news conference in Liberia on Tuesday whether she would be quarantined when she returns to the U.S., Power was vague. “I will obey the law and whatever requirements are in place,” she said. “I think some of the circumstances in the United States are quite fluid. The federal government is in communication with the states through which people returning or visiting from the region are coming. And so we will continue to remain abreast of the requirements as they evolve.”
Power later described the extensive screening checks for passengers leaving Liberia after she touched down in Ghana. “I and my delegation had our temperatures taken three times as between the time we arrived at the airport and the time that we boarded the plane,” she said. "Every place we entered in the three countries involved washing our hands with bleach, washing our shoes. These are precautions taken out of an abundance of caution.”
- Maine Weighs Options to Enforce Nurse's Quarantine
- WHO Raises Ebola Case Count to 13,000
- Disease Wars: Why U.S. Ebola Fight Should Shift to Africa