February 2, 2020

WASHINGTON — In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. government announced that starting Sunday, February 2, at 5 p.m. ET, it will quarantine U.S. citizens returning from parts of mainland China for up to two weeks, and deny entry into the United States to any foreign nationals who have traveled in China within the past two weeks. 

Below is comment from Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, in response:

“These measures are extraordinary incursions on liberty and fly in the face of considerable evidence that travel bans and quarantines can do more harm than good, including studies from the World Health Organization itself. While every virus is different and such incursions can be justified where scientifically sound, the public needs to know whether scientists — not politicians — are making these calls, whether there are no less-restrictive alternatives, and what provisions will be made available to those forced into quarantine. The more dangerous the actual outbreak, the more critical it becomes that we respond in ways that are grounded in science.

“The ACLU will be watching closely to make sure that the government’s response is ​scientifically justified and no more intrusive on civil liberties than absolutely necessary.”

More from the ACLU on the government's response is here: https://www.aclu.org/news/privacy-technology/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-coronavirus-outbreak-a-civil-liberties-perspective/.

Stay Informed