About that “voluntary” quarantine

By now you've undoubtedly heard of the guy from Rutland who has recently returned from West Africa and promptly landed in what is being called voluntary quarantine. You know, just so Vermont doesn't miss out on the Ebola panic.

 “I want to emphasize this is a voluntary arrangement, and that this individual does not have an elevated temperature, has no signs or symptoms of illness and is not a health risk to anyone at this time,” the governor said..

 If you're like me, the story might have set you wondering about a fundamental question: who are they to tell me that I have to go into “voluntary” quarantine? What if I say no?

VPR reports that the administration has an answer to that:

 Shumlin stated that if the individual presents symptoms and the Vermont Department of Health deems involuntary quarantine of the individual necessary, he is “ready, willing, and able” to act.

It turns out that Vermont statutes make provision for just such an eventuality. 18 V.S.A. § 1004a says that “The commissioner of health shall have the power to quarantine a person diagnosed or suspected of having a disease dangerous to the public health.”

Given that every public statement the government has made emphasizes that this person has had no symptoms, and there is no reason to think he has been infected, one wonders what a court would do if faced with a habeas challenge to his detention. 

2 thoughts on “About that “voluntary” quarantine

  1. perhaps…

    And the virus has presented at least one unusual challenge for law enforcement agencies, senior American officials said on Sunday. They described how agencies had urgently investigated a man who wrote a bizarre post on social media that he was going to try and contract Ebola in Africa and then return to the United States.


    If so, once again we’re being kept in the dark which is partly what is driving the hysteria bus. In the dot-com age who could be so foolish as the world is small & getting smaller.

    Shummy standing there looking grim is hardly reassuring. Red carpet of open borders is none too comforting.  

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