The US Army has made the decision to put soldiers returning from the Ebola zone into 21-day quarantine.
U.S. soldiers returning from Liberia are being placed in isolation in Vicenza, Italy out of concern for the Ebola virus, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.
The soldiers being monitored include Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams who was the commander of the U.S. Army in Africa but turned over duties to the 101st Airborne Division over the weekend, Martin reports. There are currently 11 soldiers in isolation.
They apparently were met by Carabinieri in full hazmat suits. If the policy remains in effect, everyone returning from Liberia – several hundred – will be placed in isolation for 21 days. Thirty are expected in today, Martin reports.
Carabinieri are Italy’s national police. CBS does not make it clear who imposed the quarantine, but the Italian national police involvement indicates that it’s a local national decision.
CBS’ report is incorrect, at least in the long term, and shorts the number of troops who will ultimately be involved. The Obama administration is sending about 3,000 troops to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. They will mostly train local personnel and build facilities to treat Ebola victims there. They will have to return to their home bases in the continental US and around the world at some point.
The Obama White House and the CDC, under its control, have militated against any quarantines for American doctors and nurses returning from the Ebola zone, despite the fact that they come into direct contact with victims during the course of treating them. Now US Army troops are being quarantined in Italy, but not at the White House’s or Pentagon’s request.
Whoever made the decision to quarantine those troops in Italy, the Joint Chiefs of the US military have just called for quarantining all US troops returning from the Ebola zone. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has not yet decided whether to follow through on the JCS request.
Will the White House try to overrule the local quarantine decision? Or the Joint Chiefs?