As the contentious debate over the quarantining travelers coming from Ebola affected regions continues to embroil public health authorities, politicians, and the public – the Pentagon today announced their intent to place all personnel returning from those same nations under `controlled monitoring’ .
While not well defined, `controlled monitoring’ has been described in various press reports as a `quarantine-like’ protocol.
The word `quarantine’ however, is noticeably absent from today’s statement. Details, according to today’s Pentagon statement, are to be worked out over the next two weeks.
Although the administration – and many public health officials – have repeatedly stated that a 21-day quarantine was unnecessary (and possibly counter-productive) for non symptomatic travelers – polling from both CBS News and ABC News (see WaPo article Poll: 80 percent want Ebola quarantines) shows that the majority of Americans remain unconvinced.
This press release from Defense.gov.
Release No: NR-547-14
October 29, 2014
This morning, Secretary Hagel signed an order that validated a recommendation from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to place all U.S. military service members returning from Ebola response efforts in West Africa into a 21-day controlled monitoring regimen. This order will apply to all military services that are contributing personnel to the fight against Ebola at its source.
The secretary has also directed that the Joint Chiefs develop, for his review within 15 days, a detailed implementation plan for how this controlled monitoring will be applied across the force that takes into account the size and scope of the logistics required for this effort.
In addition, the secretary directed that the Joint Chiefs conduct a review of this new regimen within 45 days from now. This review will offer a recommendation on whether or not such controlled monitoring should continue based on what we learn and observe from the initial waves of personnel returning from Operation United Assistance.
The secretary believes these initial steps are prudent given the large number of military personnel transiting from their home base and West Africa and the unique logistical demands and impact this deployment has on the force. The secretary's highest priority is the safety and security of our men and women in uniform and their families.